Dear Consumer Ed:

A couple months ago I bought a new car. I recently took it to my mechanic for an oil change, and he asked me if the car had ever been in a wreck.  He said the bumper had been damaged. I called the dealer and discovered that someone had backed in to the car when it was still on the dealer’s lot (before I bought it). Shouldn’t they have disclosed this to me?

Consumer Ed says:

Under Georgia law a dealer is required to disclose damage to a new motor vehicle that costs more than 5 percent of the manufacturer’s suggested retail price to repair. In addition, any damage to paint which costs more than $500 to repair must be disclosed.  However, there are some significant exceptions. Dealers are not required to disclose that bumpers, tires, glass, wheels, radios or in-dash audio equipment have been damaged and repaired. So in your case, the dealer probably would not have been required to disclose this damage to you.  However, you might want to check with your mechanic to see if other items were damaged or replaced in addition to the bumper. If you have any questions, contact the Georgia Department of Law’s Consumer Protection Unit at 404-651-8600 or 800-869-1123.

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