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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 110503
Experience:  Attorney experienced in commercial litigation.
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My father in law just signed a 39 month auto lease deal and

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My father in law just signed a 39 month auto lease deal and he is happy about the terms of the contract. He was expecting to write a check for the agreed down payment and then drive away in his new car. The dealership informs him that the car he test drove is no longer available, ( after he signs) but they are working hard at finding him another car just like it. Give us a day or two to find it for you. He gets a call from the dealership a few hours later ( expecting to hear that they found his car.) and they say that the bank didn't approve him for the promised monthly rate. He could give us $25 per month more or $1,000 more to the down payment and they can approve the deal. He was already told he was approved as it was.That's why he signed it. Does this break any consumer protection laws? Can he sue them for punitive damages? thanks, Tom
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

The fact that he cannot be given the car he drove is grounds for him to simply terminate the contract, since he agreed on the car he drove and not some other car. Second, he agreed on a specific price and now they are changing the deal (it is yo-yo financing and that is something you can report them to the CA Attorney General for as well). He needs to TEAR UP THE CONTRACT and walk away as they are in breach of the contract and he has these two grounds to void the contract and should use them. If they do not give his money back he can sue for breach of contract.

I am afraid that because it is a breach of contract, it is not generally something the court can legally award unless you prove that this is an unfair and deceptive business act under CA Civil Code 17200-17210, then if he is a senior citizen he is entitled to seek up to $2500 in penalties per violation under the law. He would have to prove this was intentional conduct, and most likely from what you describe he could do so.

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