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Jane T (LLC)
Jane T (LLC), Lawyer (JD)
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 8435
Experience:  Experienced attorney; contracts, internet, business, finance, employment, RE, consumer, & more.
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My 76 yr old mom, who lives in Ohio, was just diagnosed with

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My 76 yr old mom, who lives in Ohio, was just diagnosed with Alzheimer's Dementia. She's in the early stages, however, after discussing things with her practitioner, we now realize that there have been subtle signs over the past several years. She has very poor short term memory and her decision making skills are poor. We are moving her here to Virginia because she needs our support.

I'm writing because I feel she has been taken advantage of by a car dealership in Ohio and cannot afford the debt she's ensued.

They have sold her 3 brand new cars in the past 5 years. The first one, a 2005 car purchased in April 2005, was necessary, because her car was totaled while parked on the street. (Hit by an uninsured driver) Then she went back to them in Oct 2007 (she can't explain why) and they sold her a 2007 car with $470 a month car payment. She couldn't afford that, so after 2 years (July 2010), went back to them asking for help. They sold her another new car (2010) rolling the $6000 difference into the new loan. They did lower the interest rate from 9.24 to 4.49%. Now she owes a total of $24043.68.

My mom earns a total of $1500 a month from social security and a small pension. She has had a job up until now working part-time to earn extra money. That will most likely not be possible once she moves down here, or at least not for long, given her diagnosis.
She has no savings or investments.

This entire thing makes me very angry. Certainly I would expect them to "diagnose" that
she had dementia, but I find it hard to believe they didn't realize she had no idea what she was doing. I certainly believe they've acted unethically, however, I'm interested to know if there is any legal recourse we can take?

We are not sure where to start. Car dealership? Credit Union? Better Business Bureau?
Or a lawyer?

Any advice you can offer, would be greatly appreciated.

Cheri
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Jane T (LLC) replied 6 years ago.

Jane T (LLC) :

Hi - you may want to contact the Ohio Attorney General'

Jane T (LLC) :

That typed too fast - I will try to properly type out what I mean to say.

Jane T (LLC) :

You may want to contact the Ohio Attorney General's Office to discuss the matter with them. Their contact information is available here. They cannot provide legal advice but they do provide a wealth of information and services to those who believe they have, as consumers, been treated illegally or unfairly/fraudulently. Also, a purchase contract, as a contract, requires all parties to have full capacity to be enforcable. If a person enters into a contract while lacking the capacity to understand what he or she is signing/doing, then it is possible, with a lawsuit, to declare the contract unforceable. This is normally done through a civil suit. For this it may be best for you to contact an attorney to discuss the situation. Because the actual diagnosis, as you discuss, appears to have been made after the purchase this may be an issue, but if signs were clear and her actions did indicate confusion or a lack of understanding, then that may help you in your case.

JACUSTOMER-ju0nrnrr- :

Thank you. Regarding your last statement "?if signs were clear and her actions did indicate confusion or lack of understanding".....could this be testimony from people who know her such as her employer, brother, friends? We can't prove she didn't understand the contract at the time of signing, since no one was with her, but based on the progression of this disease, we may be able to demonstrate that these symptoms have been developing for several years.

Jane T (LLC) :

Hi, certainly testimony from those who know her can be used for this purpose, but dementia, is normally not a constant, particularly in the early stages, so the state of capacity at the moment the contract was made or any prior knowledge of the other party before the contract was entered into may also need to be available. A medical or other expert, able to provide an indication of how likely it was for symptoms to be evident and lack of capacity to be seen at that period of time can help - but that will be up to the attorney you work with on the matter to determine and plan for.

JACUSTOMER-ju0nrnrr- :

One last question. Would it cause any harm to contact the credit union and/or dealership to try and work something out without first engaging a lawyer?

Jane T (LLC) :

I wish I could provide you with help on that one, but truly that is one that has too much information unavailable for me to even guess at. It may depend on the business practices of the dealership or credit union, willingness to end things easily, aversion to risk, ability and willingness to negotiate, and many other items I could not even guess at. It is difficult to predict if it may be helpful or harm the situation.

JACUSTOMER-ju0nrnrr- :

Thank you.

Jane T (LLC) :

Good luck to you and your mother.

Jane T (LLC) :

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