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Purchased Used Is350 Last Year, Dealer Didn't Disclose Unibody Dam


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In July of last year I purchased a used 2006 IS350 w/ 46k miles, Premium, Luxury, Nav, Levinson & spoiler for $24,900 from a used car lot (not certified Lexus, doah!) in El Cajon, CA. At the time I purchased the car, my brother in law who owns a body shop in CO inspected the vehicle and everything looked good on the surface. He checked under the hood, the door seals, etc, but he didn't look under the vehicle and that turns out where the problem lies.

A couple days ago, I tried to trade my IS350 in, and the dealer pulled the AutoCheck history report (similar to Carfax). The Autocheck history reports an accident on 6/27/2007 with no details. It also reports that the auction house that sold it to the dealer I bought it from reported Unibody Damage at the time of sale on 6/19/2009.

The guy at the new dealership I was trading it in at took my car and put it up on a lift and inspected under the car. The manager showed me where parts had been replaced. There are a lot of markings on the bolts (can someone confirm whether or not lexus does this at the factory??). And some of the parts have brand new stickers on them that would have normally worn off quite a bit after 4 years. In addition, the inside of the front tires is worn down to metal in some spots, even though on the outside they appear fine, and have plenty of tread left on them. Here are the photos I was able to take:

http://picasaweb.google.com/djrobsd/Unibody?feat=directlink#

So... I'm just curious. Was the dealer I bought my car from required to disclose the previous unibody damage to me? It's been almost a year since I bought the car, do I have any recourse at this point? Looking at the photos, it seems like the repairs are legit, but the way the tires are wearing doesn't seem normal to me. Aside from buying new tires, what else should I do at this point? I mean, it seems to me like I've got a car which is now worth a lot less because it won't show clean on an Autocheck or Carfax report... And in addition, I have to disclose this to whoever buys it from me, so that will in turn require me to sell the car for less money...

Not sure what to do at this point... Just curious what others thoughts are!

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Unfortunately on used cars it is usually "Caveat Emptor" (buyer beware). You had the option to take it to a trusted mechanic in your area and have it checked out. If the dealer would not allow that, then you definitely do not want to buy from him. You also could have paid a small fee for the Carfax or better yet demand that the dealer provide you with a Carfax Report. They do not catch everything, but if it goes through an insurance company or Lexus dealer for that type of repair it should be in the report. Nothing is perfect. In some states dealers are responsible only if the car they sold you had known safety defects that they did not disclose. If your intent is to trade, try another dealer and they may not give it a thorough check. I have never had a car checked by a dealer on a trade, other than a test drive and kick the tires type of inspectiion. I traded my last car and had a price and deal on the new one with thirty minutes with the salesperson, and they did not test drive it. Just checked the mileage, tires, and sheet metal. I do not haggle....I state what I am willilng to pay and what I want for my old car and give them about 5 minutes to say yes, or if not I walk. Has worked pretty good luck over the years. You sort of take them out of their game and they have to decide on the spot or they lose a sale. They know how cheap they can let the new car go for and I shoot for that price right away by doing my homework before I go there.

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In July of last year I purchased a used 2006 IS350 w/ 46k miles, Premium, Luxury, Nav, Levinson & spoiler for $24,900 from a used car lot (not certified Lexus, doah!) in El Cajon, CA. At the time I purchased the car, my brother in law who owns a body shop in CO inspected the vehicle and everything looked good on the surface. He checked under the hood, the door seals, etc, but he didn't look under the vehicle and that turns out where the problem lies.

A couple days ago, I tried to trade my IS350 in, and the dealer pulled the AutoCheck history report (similar to Carfax). The Autocheck history reports an accident on 6/27/2007 with no details. It also reports that the auction house that sold it to the dealer I bought it from reported Unibody Damage at the time of sale on 6/19/2009.

The guy at the new dealership I was trading it in at took my car and put it up on a lift and inspected under the car. The manager showed me where parts had been replaced. There are a lot of markings on the bolts (can someone confirm whether or not lexus does this at the factory??). And some of the parts have brand new stickers on them that would have normally worn off quite a bit after 4 years. In addition, the inside of the front tires is worn down to metal in some spots, even though on the outside they appear fine, and have plenty of tread left on them. Here are the photos I was able to take:

http://picasaweb.goo...eat=directlink#

So... I'm just curious. Was the dealer I bought my car from required to disclose the previous unibody damage to me? It's been almost a year since I bought the car, do I have any recourse at this point? Looking at the photos, it seems like the repairs are legit, but the way the tires are wearing doesn't seem normal to me. Aside from buying new tires, what else should I do at this point? I mean, it seems to me like I've got a car which is now worth a lot less because it won't show clean on an Autocheck or Carfax report... And in addition, I have to disclose this to whoever buys it from me, so that will in turn require me to sell the car for less money...

Not sure what to do at this point... Just curious what others thoughts are!

Ok, let's address each issue I see here seperately.

First up, as much as you don't wanna hear this, you should have done a better inspection and history check on this car before purchasing it. In todays information age, theres no excuse or reason not to be able to find out the history of a car. And if you can't get it, then they are hiding it for a reason, and you should walk away right away. I know you said you had a friend look at the car for you, but from what you posted here, a simple carfax check would have said he/she was wrong right away. There must be some repaint work on the car and those are the first signs to look further at what happened to the car, which I'm sure the car buyer for the dealer saw right away, which is what prompted them to look further at the car. Any expereinced car buyer knows what to look for, ie, paint on the rubber, over spray, uneven blends, etc. etc. Once they see that, they look much closer at the car. All factory paint pretty much means no accidents. You should wash the car and take close up pics of the front and sides of the car and post them. I'll bet I can see where the car was repainted.

Ok, now on to the matter. You will need to look thru all the papers you signed when you purchased/ financed the car. There should have been a disclosure notice in there that you signed stating the condition of the car. You will need that. Once you found that, if it indeed says there is no damage to the car and so on, try to take all your gathered info to the dealer and go over it woth them and see if they are willing to work this out some how. If not, then your next 2 phone calls should be to the finance company (if you have one) and an attorney. The reason you should call the finance company is, technically, the dealership sold THEM the damaged car. They have a relationship with the dealer. Dealers need finance companies and a good reputation among them. Show them the carfax report and a copy of the disclosure, then have an attorney write and send them a letter. Most times at this point they will atleast be willing to "help" make this right. If not, your going to have a battle on your hands, but only if there are some state laws on your side. California and Wisconsin have some pretty tough laws, but most states, it is very much up to you to protect yourself. Alot of times, bad PR and negative attention by a local news reporter can add up to enouph pressure to do what it takes before they lose possible customers and a bad reputation.

The inside tire wear is not an indication there is anything wrong. These cars come from the factory with alot of camber that is not adjustable. It's a known issue. You need new front tires.

On the brighter side of this, you only paid $25K last year, which would have made the car only 3-4 years old that originally sold for $46+K. (Which in my mind would have been a huge red flag right away!) But atleast they didn't soak you on top of it.

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  • 4 months later...

I had a similar issue. I purchased a car from Peach Motors in Roswell, GA. I looked over the car before I bought it and everything seemed fine. When I got home, I took it to a Lexus dealer to have it inspected. They found it had been in an accident and it needed a new wheel and new wheel bearing. I immediately drove it back to Roswell and confronted them about it. I wouldn't leave the office until they agreed to pay for it. So the manager signed an agreement that said he would pay for anything under 50k miles that's not covered under warranty. I paid $1400 for the work and I have yet to receive a check.

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  • 1 month later...

I had a similar issue. I purchased a car from Peach Motors in Roswell, GA. I looked over the car before I bought it and everything seemed fine. When I got home, I took it to a Lexus dealer to have it inspected. They found it had been in an accident and it needed a new wheel and new wheel bearing. I immediately drove it back to Roswell and confronted them about it. I wouldn't leave the office until they agreed to pay for it. So the manager signed an agreement that said he would pay for anything under 50k miles that's not covered under warranty. I paid $1400 for the work and I have yet to receive a check.

Thanks for the heads up. I'm looking at used IS250s right now, and I see their listing a lot.

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