A Wisconsin couple has sued an auto dealership for promising them that a used Mazda 5 station wagon could tow a trailer. The couple wanted to tow a trailer in order to transport an electric wheelchair. The lawsuit alleges that the dealership repeatedly assured them that the vehicle could tow the trailer, and it even installed a hitch for that purpose.
The vehicle was not designed for towing, however, and the couple experienced problems when they first tried to tow the trailer. They discovered that the owner’s manual clearly said that the vehicle should never be used for towing. They demanded a refund of their money, and the dealership refused. They have stopped towing the trailer for fear of causing damage or harming the transmission.
If the couple proves that the dealership made these promises, then it should win the lawsuit. Statements of this nature constitute express warranties, or promises, that the vehicle will perform as indicated. Additionally, if a consumer relies upon a dealership to pick out a vehicle to be used for a specific purpose, there is usually an implied warranty that the vehicle is fit for that intended purpose, e.g. towing a trailer. The lawsuit also alleges that the dealership engaged in auto dealer fraud.
When relying upon a dealership’s promise in selecting a vehicle, it is usually a good idea to get the promise in writing. Although it is not necessary for the promise to be in writing in order to enforce it, the writing will make it much easier to prove that the promise was made. It is also a good idea to not rely upon dealership promises.