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CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 10238
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney representing individuals and businesses.
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Me and my wife purchased a vehicle and traded in her old

Customer Question

Me and my wife purchased a vehicle and traded in her old vehicle in that she still owed money on two months ago and the dealership still have not paid the old vehicle off every time will call they give us a bunch off excuses on why they have not paid it off, and on top of that she transfer her old tag to the new vehicle and temp registration has expired before we received our registration in the mail...I'm so frustrated what can we do?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

Dear Customer,

I am sorry to learn of this situation.

There is a series of escalating things you can do to deal with this situation. (Some of this you have already done, but I am posting all of it so that you can see how it works together).

  • First: start with the company's customer service and dispute the claim. Keep your complaint in writing. If you speak to someone by phone, follow up promptly with a "confirmation letter" (see my note below).
  • Second: open a dispute with the BBB. The BBB offers consumer dispute resolution that is fast, free to consumers, and is usually effective, they have no enforcement authority, but all BBB disputes result in a public report regarding resolution so businesses do respond to them. You can open a BBB dispute here: https://www.bbb.org/consumer-complaints/file-a-complaint/get-started
  • Third: if you believe that the company is acting fraudulently (not just charging high rates), you can report them to the state Attorney General. The AG's office does not prosecute individual claims (so they will not get your money back for you), but they will investigate and potentially take administrative and/or criminal action against the company. https://www.attorneygeneral.gov/uploadedFiles/MainSite/Content/ComplaintForms/BCP_Complaint_Form.pdf
  • *Finally: you can file a small claims action against them for breach of contract. Small claims actions take approximately 3-8 months to go to trial. There is no guarantee of success in these disputes, but filing a small claims action does open an opportunity to negotiate a resolution (in addition to the above opportunities and can lead to mediation - many courts offer mediation programs for their small claims docket). (The reason you can file in small claims is that the "amount in dispute" is the value that you are trying to recover, not the amount of the car sales - so you can use the quicker, less difficult small claims resolution than having to hire a lawyer and sue in general civil court). For information on small claims in Penn. See: https://www.pabar.org/clips/bringingsuitBeforeDJ.pdf

Confirmation letters: Keep written records of all communications - so if you speak to someone by phone, promptly send a follow up "confirmation letter" summarizing your conversation, who you spoke to, when, and any agreements you reached. Keep copies of your outgoing correspondence, as well as anything that you receive.

I wish you the best of luck with this dispute, and hopefully a speedy resolution.

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