B.C. man whose car ad read 'no leaks' loses in court over oil leak
A B.C. man who advertised his used car on Facebook as having "no leaks" is on the hook for $2,000 after the buyer sued him because the vehicle had an oil leak.
According to a March 17 B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal decision, Davinder Pal Singh Sethi posted his 2009 Toyota Matrix for $6,950 on Facebook Marketplace and specified "ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION RUNS PERFECTLY" and "NO LEAKS."
However, the day after Elizabeth Cordero purchased the vehicle she discovered it had an oil leak.
The decision says Cordero paid $2,093 to get the leak fixed.
She then took Sethi to the online small claims court arguing he'd misrepresented the condition of the vehicle.
It's fairly common to see disgruntled used car buyers attempt to sue over vehicles purchased "as is" only to lose in court because of the "buyer beware" principle.
However, the Tribunal points out that while "buyer beware" means the buyer assumes the risk, it doesn't mean a seller can misrepresent the condition of a car.
"A seller is not entitled to rely on the principle of 'buyer beware' if they either fraudulently or negligently misrepresented the sold good," the Tribunal ruled. "Fraudulent misrepresentation occurs when a seller makes a representation of fact, the representation is false, the seller knew it was false or recklessly made it without knowing it was true or false, and the buyer is induced by the false representation to buy the item."
Cordero points out Sethi's ad clearly states the car had "no leaks."
Sethi argues the car was not "handled property" after Cordero bought it.
The Tribunal ruled this argument was "speculative" and "unlikely."
"Given how quickly the applicant discovered the oil issue and the relative speed with which they had it diagnosed by a mechanic, I find the Matrix likely had an oil leak at the time of sale," the Tribunal ruled.
The Tribunal ruled that the Facebook ad was inaccurate.
"(Sehti) made a firm declarative statement to induce potential buyers to purchase the car. I find doing so was a breach of the standard of 'reasonable care' not to mislead a purchaser," the Tribunal ruled. "I find (Cordero) relied on the clear, unambiguous, and specific statement about leaks in deciding to buy the Matrix. So, I find (she) is entitled to damages for the oil leak."
However, the amount of compensation was also disputed.
Cordero claimed $2,093 the amount it cost to fix the leak.
While Sethi argued Cordero only paid $2,000 for the vehicle as that was the number written on the ownership transfer papers.
Cordero submitted evidence she'd withdrawn $7,000 at the time of the purchase and highlights that the ad said "no lowballers."
"(Sethi) provided no explanation for why they accepted a lower price after saying 'no low ballers,'" the Tribunal ruled siding with Cordero.
The Tribunal points out Cordero offered no explanation why the paperwork said $2,000 when she paid almost $7,000 – although by doing so she'd pay less PST.
Ultimately, the Tribunal found Sethi's Facebook misrepresented the vehicle's condition and ordered him to cough up $2,093 to cover the cost of fixing the leak.
He's also on the hook for $125 in fees.
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