UAE court terminates the car sale contract over odometer tampering

In a recent ruling by the Civil Court of First Instance in Ras Al Khaimah, a significant car sale contract was annulled due to evidence of odometer tampering.

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The court found that the odometer of the vehicle in question had been manipulated, falsely indicating a reduction of over 100,000 kilometres in the distance travelled before the sale. This deception misled the buyer about the true condition and usage of the car, constituting a hidden defect.

The plaintiff, who had purchased the car from the defendant for 14,500 dirhams, discovered the discrepancy after registering and inspecting the vehicle for an additional 1,045 dirhams. Subsequently, the plaintiff spent 1,620 dirhams on repairs. Upon closer inspection at the agency, it was revealed that while the odometer showed 131,111 kilometres at the time of purchase, it had actually travelled 240,874 ilometers. This stark contrast suggested deliberate tampering by the seller.

An expert report confirmed the odometer manipulation and highlighted additional concealed damages, such as oil mixing with water, existing prior to the sale. These findings strengthened the plaintiff's case, demonstrating a pattern of deceit on the part of the defendant.

The Civil Transactions Law, under which the case was adjudicated, stipulates that a sale should be free of defects, except those typically tolerated. It also grants buyers the right to annul contracts and seek compensation if significant defects are concealed by the seller. The law aims to ensure transparency and fairness in commercial transactions, protecting consumers from fraudulent practices.

The court, exercising its independence, thoroughly evaluated the evidence presented, including expert reports, to reach a fair and just decision. Ultimately, it ruled to nullify the car sale contract and ordered the defendant to reimburse the plaintiff for the car's value, totaling 15,595 dirhams, along with appropriate expenses.

This ruling serves as a reminder of the importance of honesty and integrity in business dealings. It underscores the legal consequences for those who engage in deceptive practices and reaffirms the role of the judiciary in upholding justice and protecting the rights of consumers.

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