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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 41220
Experience:  Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
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I live in California and purchased a vehicle in Oklahoma on

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I live in California and purchased a vehicle in Oklahoma on April 22, 2013. The vehicle stayed at the dealership getting some options added until my wife and I flew there on May 10,2013 to pick it up. 2 months later I take the vehicle in to a body shop to have the top painted when the owner of the facility noticed an extensive amount of small dings all over the hood which could have only been caused by hail damage. I spoke to the customer service representative at the dealership who then spoke to his general manager who stated it was too far out for them to be responsible for any damage. I searched the web and found that the area was hit with several hail storms this past year, last one being on April 26th. Several attempts were made via phone messages to discuss the matter further with the general manager to no avail until I sent an email. He responded and stated that no insurance claim was filed for any of his vehicles on the lot during the time my car was there. All I want is for the dealership to assume the responsibility of the repairs (which they have already received a written estimate). I'm wondering what my options are at this point as I get the feeling that this person will not be willing to work with me..

Rey
Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.

Rey, how extensive, or rather how expensive is the damage? Has the dealership admitted that any damage was caused to this vehicle? Was this a new vehicle purchase or a used vehicle? Your contract, does it show the day you took ownership as April 22, or was it May 10th when you picked it up? Thank you!
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
The damage was estimated at $987. No, they're not admitting to any damage done. This was a new vehicle purchase. The contract is dated for April 22nd, but I signed papers of taking ownership on May10th..

Thank you for your follow-up.

This is a situation where since you did not recognize the damage right away, the dealer does have a potential defense that this was not caused while the vehicle was under their control. I agree that they are responsible if you can prove the vehicle was damaged even after sale because they still owed a duty to protect the vehicle under a 'bailment' theory but here even that is unnecessary since the real transfer took place allegedly after damage was already done. I do not quite see this as a consumer protection issue as this isn't quite a misrepresentation, and I am not quite seeing as a claim to the Better Business Bureau although that argument could likewise be made. What I see this instead is a small claims court petition for damages based on breach of promise and for negligence under which the vehicle was damaged. That would require you to sue in Oklahoma where the vehicle was purchased, and pursue them via local court (since that is where allegedly the damage took place, and where the defendant is domiciled). You do not need an attorney to file, this would be done by you for damages and for filing fees against the dealer.

Hope that helps.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I'm sorry, how was a breach of promise and negligence done in my case. Do I then have to travel to Oklahoma to represent myself since the contract was negotiated by myself in California.
Thanks.

Thank you for your follow-up. Please permit me to assist you with an additional explanation.

A 'breach of promise' is an implied promise to keep your vehicle in the same shame that you contracted for before you picked it up. This is the bailment argument, that they owed a duty to ensure that the vehicle was properly cared for before you had a chance to pick it up.

A negligence claim is a similar, and is a claim that they owed a duty to maintain the vehicle, the breached that duty, and due to their failure to of that duty the vehicle suffered damage. They did not cover or store the vehicle in a manner that would have avoided damage.

You would need to travel to that state to represent yourself, or retain counsel. but based on the value of your claim hiring an attorney may cost more than the underlying cause of action, and therefore avoided.

Good luck.

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