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1992 Dodge Dakota Truck Sale: Misrepresentation and Concealment


On October 14, 1997 the plaintiffs attended at the defendant’s residence to inquire about the truck which they had seen advertised in the paper for sale. It is commonly acknowledged by all that the advertisement referred to a 1992 Dodge Dakota with approximately 58,000 kilometres on it. The actual reading on the odometer on October 14, 1997 was 57,167 kilometres. The plaintiffs took the vehicle for a test drive. Afterwards, according to the plaintiffs, they asked the defendant what repairs had been done and he replied the only repair was the replacement of the fuel pump. They asked if the truck had given him trouble and he replied “no”. They asked if the truck had been smashed up and he replied it had not. The defendant, on the other hand, says he had only a general conversation with the plaintiffs about 1992 Dodge Dakota trucks and the plaintiffs indicated they had previously owned one. The defendant volunteered he had spent $500 on a fuel pump which he felt was expensive. The plaintiffs agreed and said they had had the same experience. The plaintiffs then asked whether the defendant thought it was a good truck and he replied “Yes. You’ve driven it, what do you think?” The defendant said he made no other representations and, after the fact, was surprised by how little the plaintiffs had asked. Not unexpectedly, Mrs. Defendant supports her husband’s version of events and Mrs. Plaintiff supports her husband’s recollections. There is some disagreement as to whether Mrs. Defendant left the room for a period of time to check a water problem.

The plaintiffs did not use the vehicle much in the next couple of months. In May of 1998 they noticed the engine was making noise and on May 7, 1998 had it checked out at Heritage Sales and Service in Cudworth. Believing that the truck was still under factory warranty due to the low mileage, the plaintiffs took the truck to Auto Clearing in Saskatoon to have the engine repaired. They were advised the serial numbers on the vehicle and the engine did not match, that this was not the original engine and therefore there was no warranty. The plaintiffs returned the vehicle to Heritage Sales and Service and had the engine replaced at a cost of $2,465.60. The odometer reading at this time was 60,515 kilometres.

On June 2, 1998 the transmission failed. The truck was taken to another service outlet, Triple Seven Chrysler, where the plaintiff, Mr. Plaintiff, was initially told the replacement of the transmission would be covered under warranty. He was subsequently advised that there was no warranty and the transmission was repaired at a cost of $3,500. To investigate why there was no warranty, the plaintiffs contacted SGI and learned the vehicle was previously a total loss vehicle. SGI provided the plaintiffs with a copy of an inspection certificate dated August 16, 1996 by Heritage Sales and Service in Cudworth. Mr. Plaintiff spoke to a representative at Heritage Sales who revealed the truck had been owned by a Tim Demong of Cudworth. Mr. Plaintiff contacted Mr. Demong who informed him the truck had been assembled from three different vehicles, more specifically, according to Mr. Demong, the body and sheet metal were from one Dodge Dakota with approximately 30,000 kilometres which had been fire damaged. The frame, suspension and rear differential were from a second Dodge Dakota truck, also fire damaged, which had approximately 20,000 kilometres. The engine and transmission were from a third vehicle of unknown mileage. The odometer was installed from yet another vehicle and read between 50,000 and 60,000 kilometres. Mr. Demong stated to the plaintiffs that the defendant was aware of these facts when he purchased the vehicle on August 26, 1996 for $12,250.
On or about July 3, 1998 the plaintiffs advertised the truck for sale for $12,900. Most callers were interested in paying up to $12,000 until learning the truck was previously a total loss vehicle. The plaintiffs received separate offers of $4,500 from one caller and $6,000 from another. In July, 1998 the truck developed a leak. The plaintiffs replaced the power steering rack at a cost of $527.27. On July 10, 1998 the plaintiffs traded the vehicle to Discovery Ford in Humboldt, receiving a trade-in allowance of $8,000. The odometer showed 61,500 kilometres at the time of trade-in, a difference of 4,333 kilometres from when the plaintiffs purchased the vehicle. The plaintiffs say they would not have purchased the vehicle for $12,400 had they known its true history. On September 14, 1998, they commenced the within action under Part 40, the Simplified Procedure Rules.

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