Date: May 31, 2012

            After twenty years, Paul’s Ford pickup truck went over 300,000 miles and basically it had seen its’ last mile. Paul saw in the newspaper a private owner willing to sell their 2008 F-150 with only 40,000 miles on it. The ad also said that the truck was in excellent condition and only had one owner. The price seemed very reasonable to Paul. So he called the owner, Frank, to set up an appointment to come and take a look at the truck.

             When Paul met Frank, he asked Frank whether the truck was ever in an accident, at which time Frank responded that it had not been. Frank also said that he never had any problems with the truck and it had just been recently serviced a couple of months ago. The tires on the truck looked fairly new and Paul was satisfied that it was a fair price for the truck and decided to buy it.

             Frank only had the truck for one week when he noticed increasing problems which turned out to be transmission problems. Paul also noticed that the truck seemed to pull to the right and, when he had it checked out by a mechanic, it was obvious that the frame had been bent and in fact the truck had been in a rather severe accident in the past causing major damage. Finally, Paul found out that apparently the odometer had been rolled back and that the correct mileage on the truck was closer to 90,000 miles as opposed to the 40,000 miles that appeared.

             Paul immediately contacted Frank demanding his money back. Frank responded that Paul had every chance that he had wanted to examine the truck and refused to give the money back.

             Paul sought legal assistance and found out very quickly that he would be entitled to get his money back because of the fraudulent statements made by Frank. Frank would also have some criminal responsibility, since as it turned out he knew that the odometer had been rolled back and basically he had committed a fraud on an unsuspecting buyer. In the future if Paul does buy another vehicle, he will be more cautious in checking out the history of the vehicle rather than relying on what the seller represents.

 Disclaimer: The above article is for instructive purposes only and each case is fact sensitive.  Consultation with an attorney should be obtained instead of reliance upon the legal issues discussed in this column. 



Cal Leventhal
Cal is a graduate of the University of Miami (magna Cum Laude) and attended Loyola and Notre Dame law schools graduating in 1976. He is admitted to the Bars of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and both state and federal trial and appellate courts situated in Pennsylvania.