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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 32535
Experience:  Practicing for over 20 years and handled many cases and trials for consumers.
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An auto dealer agreed for for my wife to purchase a new auto

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An auto dealer agreed for for my wife to purchase a new auto in the amount of $28,500. This amount was inclusive of tag, taxes, etc. The agreed drive out price was $28,569 (and some cents), and she paid $10K as a down payment. The contract signed was almost $5K more that what was agrred upon. A letter was sent to the dealer to respond as to why (in writing), and they refuse to respond in writing. The finance guy stated, "she would not be penalize for early pay-off. Finance charges was added, and the contract sold to PNC Bank, and additional finance charges added.

The question: Does my wife and I have a legitimate case, because the original verbal agreement was not honored?

Thanks

JD 1992 :

Hello and thank you for contacting Just Answer. I am an expert here and I look forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification.

JD 1992 :

I would be more than happy to discuss this matter with you. However, before we do that, I need to make sure that you understand how the website and rating system works.


 


Many times in legal situations regarding the purchase of autmobiles the law is not in favor of the consumer. When that happens we have to give the person asking the question bad news. It's true, but sometimes it's not in their favor.


 


On this website the customer rates us experts at the end of the question and answer and every now and then a customer is unhappy about the law and gives a negative rating. Unfortunately, that negative rating is taken by the website to be a reflection on me, indicating that I wasn't polite, wasn't prompt, or provided a wrong answer.


 


I'm more than happy to discuss this with you, but I just wanted to make sure that you understood how the system works and that you will rate me on my professionalism and not on whether the law is in your favor or not, since I have no control over that.


 


With that understanding, do you want me to discuss this in more detail with you?

Customer:

Indeed, I understand the law does not favor the consumer, and I will grade you based upon your actions (pro or con). By all means, I do wish to know my options. I do have on my cell phone of the agreed drive-out price of $28,500; however, the text message was sent to the salesman as a confirmation of our conversation. Also, on this text message was the price of another dealer whereas, their price was $29K for the same auto.

JD 1992 :

Let me give you a few basics of the law and then we can discuss how they may be used. OKay?

Customer:

Okay.

JD 1992 :

First, any time you sign a contract the presumption is that you read, understood, and agreed to anything in there. That is what is known as a "rebuttable presumption" meaning that you can offer evidence and, if the evidence is persuasive enough, the judge can decide you did not actually read, understand and agree.

JD 1992 :

Second, there is something known as the 4 corners rule.

JD 1992 :

That states that unless something in the contract is ambiguous, then you only go by what is contained within the document itself, no outside evidence.

JD 1992 :

The issue that I don't quite understand is 1) whether all of the extra charges were actually contained in the document itself and 2) if so, why didn't you notice the difference? Can you explain that to me and then we can start working on how to handle the situation.

Customer:

Yep, the agreed balance of $18,569 was noticed and mentioned to the finance guy; however, he stated, he had to write the contract this way and she would not be penalized. When the pay-off was made to PNC Bank about 2-months later, they would not redune the finance charges nor make any adjustments. That is when we went back to the dealer and they would not respond in writing.

JD 1992 :

I understand.How much did this mistake actually cost you?

Customer:

Based upon my analysis, a little bit less than $5K. I am under the impression, the salesperson would tell the truth of the matter.....for I really believe he is a child of God. I know, we should have known better. The concern that I have, what price was provided to their finance department to generate the contract. This question was asked within the letter sent to them, and they refuse to respond.

JD 1992 :

You can definitely force them to tell you the correct figures through discovery. In essence you are claiming a breach of contract and fraud, so you could recover any attorney's fees you spend. Are you planning on getting an attorney or trying to handle it yourself. If handling it yourself, what state are you in?

Customer:

I am in Georgia, and I have not looked for an attorney to handle this matter. I was thinking of presenting it in Magistrate Court as a small claim; however, I would prefer an attorney to handle if possible. The amount will be in the area of a small claim since I believe the amount to be less that the required $5K. Do you guys refer cases to local attorneys if needed?

Customer:

Additonally, they did not honor the initial agreement and I can prove that.

JD 1992 :

No, we can't actually make any referrals. GA has a limit in small claims court of $15k so you are well within that amount.

JD 1992 :

This case is going to be a little tricky because you signed the contract and you have to do some discovery so you would greatly increase your chances of success if you used an attorney.

Customer:

Okay, thanck a bunch. My last question for you. On a scale of 1 - 10, 10 being the best. In your professional opinion, what do you think my chances are for recovering the amount due my wife?

JD 1992 :

I think the chances are better than 50%, how much better depends on how good their witnesses are but the fact that they have not responded and the paperwork is kind of iffy counts in your favor. PLus, no one trusts car dealers.

JD 1992 :

Even less so than lawyers.

Customer:

Thanks.

Dwayne B. and 3 other Consumer Protection Law Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you very much for the Positive Rating. Please come back and visit us if you have any new questions and feel free to ask for me by placing “FOR JD 1992” in the subject line or as the first words of your question and I will pick up as soon as I see it.