Sorchaga vs. Ride Auto, LLC.
Fraud Negates Any Agreement Concerning the “As Is” Condition of the Vehicle
Esmeralda Sorchaga purchased a pickup truck from Ride Auto located outside of Minneapolis, Minn. Ride purchased the truck earlier from a salvage yard for $6700 which had engine problems of which it was aware. Thereafter Ride made only cosmetic changes to the vehicle just so that it would look nice and be able to be driven for short distances without breaking down. When she arrived Ms. Sorchaga was allowed to take the vehicle for a test drive but couldn’t drive it very far because its tank was low on gas. During the test drive the check engine light came on and an excessive amount of smoke was emitted from its tailpipe. The salesman stated that the light came on only because of a faulty oxygen sensor which could be easily repaired and the excessive smoke was only the result of the engine warming up. The salesman made a number of other material misrepresentations upon which Ms. Sorchaga relied and she purchased the vehicle for $13,000. The contract she signed indicated that she was purchasing the vehicle “as is-no-warranty”. Almost immediately thereafter, Ms. Sorchaga experienced significant mechanical problems with the truck where it wouldn’t drive over 40 mph and continued to emit significant smoke, so much so, that she was stopped by the police. She took the truck back to Ride who refused to repair the vehicle reminding her that she bought the vehicle as is. She then took the vehicle to a mechanic who informed her that it needed a new engine which would cost her up to $20,000.
To make a long story short, in a suit by Ms. Sorchaga, the seller’s argument that it should be able to disclaim any warranty because the vehicle was sold “as is” was rejected by the trial court, the appellate court and finally by the Minnesota Supreme Court. Fraudulent representations made by a seller to a buyer concerning the condition of a vehicle will prevent that seller from enforcing its disclaimer made in any sales contract