A man who purchased a used pickup truck through Facebook Marketplace isn’t entitled to a refund, even though the vehicle’s roughly 240,000 mileage was falsely presented as being in kilometres, B.C.’s small claims tribunal has ruled.
The buyer, Nicholas Adam Tataryn, filed a claim through the Civil Resolution Tribunal seeking a full refund of the $4,000 he paid for the 2004 Chevrolet Avalanche back in November 2022, plus $480 for the ownership transfer, $88 for shop work and $34 for an oil top-up.
But even though the Facebook ad for the pickup misstated it had been driven 241,888 kilometres, when it had actually been driven that many miles, tribunal member Kristin Gardner found the purchase amounted to a case of “buyer beware” – something she called a “well-established (rule) in the sale of used vehicles.”
“This means that a buyer who fails to have the vehicle inspected, as Mr. Tataryn failed to do, is subject to the risk that they did not get what they thought they were getting and made a bad bargain,” Gardner wrote in a Nov. 2 decision.
The tribunal heard the seller, Edwin Landin, described the vehicle online as “running very strong, no issues, still driving everyday, no slips on transmission.” When Tataryn came to take the Avalanche for a test drive, Landin also informed him there was an oil leak.
Tataryn told the tribunal he went forward with the purchase anyway, without getting the pickup professionally inspected – and only weeks later learned the vehicle had more wear than he’d been led to believe.
“He took the truck to a mechanic to assess the known oil leaks. He says the mechanic estimated $2,300 to repair the leaks,” Gardner wrote. “As Mr. Landin undisputedly advised him of the oil leaks, Mr. Tataryn does not take issue with that repair cost. However, Mr. Tataryn says the shop also advised him that he had incorrectly reported the truck’s mileage as 240,000 kilometres, when it was actually over 390,000 kilometres.”
The buyer said he never would have purchased the pickup had he known the true mileage.
But in order to be entitled to compensation for a used vehicle that wasn’t in the condition a buyer believed it was, Gardner said that buyer must prove there had been “fraud, non-innocent misrepresentation, breach of contract, breach of warranty, or a known latent defect” – none of which she believed was true about Landin’s sale.
The seller told the tribunal he believed the odometer was in kilometres, and that he had used that figure in his own insurance policy. He also provided the transfer form from when he purchased the vehicle in September 2022, which stated it had then been driven 205,765 kilometres.
“Based on that document, I find it is likely the truck was set to display its mileage in ‘miles’ rather than ‘kilometers’ before Mr. Landin bought it,” Gardner said. “I say that because I find it very unlikely that Mr. Landin drove the truck 185,000 kilometers in less than 14 months.”
The tribunal member also accepted that the odometer likely indicated “MI,” for miles, at the time of the sale, and accepted Landin’s argument that the purchaser would have been able to see as much during the test drive.
Gardner ultimately found there was no evidence the seller had done anything more than give an “innocent misrepresentation” of the pickup’s mileage.
“There is no recovery available for an innocent misrepresentation,” the tribunal member wrote. “I find that buyer beware applies to this vehicle sale.”