from the Circuit Court of the 21st Judicial Circuit, Kankakee
County, Illinois. Circuit No. 16-SC-335, Honorable Ronald J.
Gerts, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.
Presiding Justice Holdridge and Justice McDade concurred in
the judgment and opinion.
1 This appeal arises from a small claims case brought by
plaintiff, Shanika Monee Boyd, against defendant, Steve's
Key City Auto, regarding her purchase of a used car from
defendant. Defendant sold the used car to plaintiff
"as-is, " and the car broke down and was inoperable
a few days later. The trial court awarded plaintiff $1500.
Defendant filed a motion to reconsider, which the trial court
denied. Defendant appealed. We reverse.
3 On March 16, 2016, plaintiff filed a small claims complaint
against defendant, claiming that defendant was
"indebted" to her in the sum of "$3, 000 for
the price of the automobile." At trial plaintiff, who is
hearing impaired, testified with the assistance of an
4 Plaintiff testified that on February 11, 2016, she
purchased a 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe (vehicle) from
defendant-"Steve's Auto lot." Plaintiff
indicated the original price of the vehicle was $2900, but
because she "mentioned an ad he had online, he dropped
the price to $2600." Plaintiff testified that she had
the vehicle for approximately three days when it "broke
down" on her way to work. She also testified that the
only thing she had done to the car was get the oil changed.
5 Plaintiff further testified that she tried to get the
vehicle fixed "because [defendant] wouldn't take it
back." The initial estimate for repairs was $2200. When
plaintiff brought the vehicle to a second repair shop, it was
determined that the vehicle "needed a full pump, a
starter, and a new engine, " with an estimated repair
cost of $2000. Plaintiff testified that she had the car towed
twice "in order to get it looked at to try to get [it]
fixed." She also had purchased a new battery (because
she thought it was the battery when the car originally
stopped working) and had paid $762.96 "for the labor
[done] for the timing belt because that's the only thing
[she first] knew of." Plaintiff also testified that when
she notified defendant her car had broken down, defendant
offered her a $2000 credit toward the purchase of another
vehicle. Defendant, however, did not have any $2000 cars
available, and plaintiff did not have money to pay the
difference for a more expensive vehicle over the $2000 credit
that defendant was offering to her.
6 Defendant testified that plaintiff's vehicle actually
broke down about nine days after she had purchased it.
Defendant initially offered to "trade her out" or
"do something, " but then he was informed that
plaintiff had the oil changed the day before the motor went
out. Defendant believed that it was "very common"
for oil change places to drain the oil and start a vehicle
without putting oil back in, and then they put oil in it and
the motor goes out, maybe the next day or maybe the next
month so as to prematurely wear out the motor.
7 Defendant provided the trial court with the Bill of Sale
and the Buyer's Guide that had been signed by plaintiff.
The bill of sale indicated that plaintiff purchased the
vehicle for $2300 ("cash price") and paid $2847
after sales tax and fees (document fee, title fee, plate fee,
and transfer fee). The bill of sale also showed that
plaintiff had not been charged in relation to a
"warranty fee, " that plaintiff initialed next to
large print that indicated "AS IS-All used cars 'as
is' unless indicated here" and also indicated
"NON-REFUNDABLE; AS IS AND SHOWN." Plaintiff also
signed the bill of sale, which indicated that she was
accepting the terms set forth in the bill of sale.
8 Plaintiff also signed the "Buyers Guide, " which
also indicated that she was purchasing the vehicle as-is and
without a warranty. The buyers guide provided, in large,
bold, capital lettering, on the middle of the page, that the
warranty applicable for the vehicle was "AS IS - NO
WARRANTY." Next to that, in somewhat smaller print-but
still in bold, capital lettering-it indicated, "YOU WILL
PAY ALL COSTS FOR ANY REPAIRS." Next to that language,
the buyer's guide further indicated, "[t]he dealer
assumes no responsibility for any repairs regardless of any
oral statements about the vehicle." The plaintiff signed
the buyers guide in the middle of the page, in the section
indicating "AS IS-NO WARRANTY."
9 In the buyers guide, below the "as is" section,
was a section indicating "WARRANTY" that was left
blank. The buyer's guide also indicated that a service
contract was available for an extra charge and that if a
service contract was bought within 90 days of the sale, then
state law "implied warranties" may give the
purchaser additional rights. There was no indication that
plaintiff purchased a service contract.
10 Defendant testified that the vehicle had been advertised
at the full price with a warranty but the warranty was no
longer offered when the price was reduced. He explained,
"[w]hen we drop[ ] the price of the vehicles, the first
thing that goes is the warranty." Defendant also
testified that plaintiff had signed for the purchase of the
vehicle "as-is." He indicated, "[w]e sell all
vehicles as is, even if you get a warranty." Defendant
contended that plaintiff had owned the vehicle for nine days
and, in his experience, a faulty oil change can lead to
11 Plaintiff testified that she did not purchase the warranty
because it was never mentioned to her by the salesperson and
she would have paid more for the vehicle if a warranty had
been mentioned. Plaintiff indicated to the court that she was
requesting $2000 ...