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Irwin Law
Irwin Law, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 6760
Experience:  Lawyer & Real Estate Broker, 30+ years, foreclosure, land contracts, inheritance, probate.
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I bought a car through a small used lot 4 years ago. There

Customer Question

I bought a car through a small used lot 4 years ago. There was a lien thought the dealer and the financial company that offered the loan to me. About 2 years after buying it, I got myself into a bind that required me to pay a $900 civil fee or have a suspended licence for I believe 3 months. I had absolutely no money at the time and I couldn't afford the $900 nor lose my license and still have to pay the insurance and car note. I took the car back to the dealer and explained that as much as I didn't want to, I'd have to surrender the vehicle back to them. They went back and fourth with me and by the end of it, the owner of the car company offered to give me the $900 I needed to pay off the civil fee. I explained that I am very thankful but I knew I wasn't going to be able to pay him back for it. He told me , "Don't worry about it, consider it an early Christmas gift". There was no paperwork done, I didn't agree to pay him back and I left there with the understanding that it was a gift out of kindness.
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Customer: Uhg. All that typing and I feel like I am talking with a bot now..
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Customer: How much is this going to cost for legal advice?
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Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Irwin Law replied 6 months ago.
Good morning. I'm not a "bot". Actually, real live lawyer here to assist with your question. I understand the facts that you sent us, but you did not pose a question. If you tell me what you want to know, I will be happy to assist with information.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Continued information :So 2 months ago, I went to trade in the car I bought from that company and buy a newer car that could fit my 4 month old daughters car seat and her mother and I comfortably. (More of a family car) I contacted the small lot that I bought the original car from and asked how I went about getting both liens off the car. I was told that I was whole with them and all I needed to do was have the new dealership provide proof that the loan from the bank was paid in full and then they would release their lien along with the bank's lien. The next day, it didn't go like that. All of a sudden, the corner lot told the new dealers that I owed them $900 before they would release the lien. I already gave my $3,000 deposit for the new car and the old bank was paid in full.I went to the corner lot to try and figure out why all of a sudden they were trying to collect on this money and they had absolutely no records of why they gave me the $900 but refused to turn over the lien until I paid it. They went through all the files I signed and any records they had on me regarding the car and couldn't show me anything stating I agreed to pay back the $900. I was told the only thing they had was a note in the computer saying that they gave me the $900.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I paid them that day saying that I didn't have time to dispute this but I wasn't done trying to resolve it. I filed a small claims case and the court appearance is today. I just don't know if I even have a chance though.. I didn't agree to pay this $900 back and I was (what I felt) forced into paying them back or I wouldn't be able to get the lien released..
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
My brother was also present at the time of them giving me the $900 and also was with the understanding it was being given as a gift. He will be at court with me today. I don't know that his appearance will do any good for the case..
Expert:  Irwin Law replied 6 months ago.
Your legal theory in court should be that without a promise to repay the $900, the court can assume that it was an adjustment to the purchase price of your car. Obviously, the dealer had a huge profit going for him and did not want you to default on the loan. He advanced the $900 to keep that from happening. But that might fit the definition of a loan, rather than a gift. In fact, the law in most states presumes that money given to someone, other than a close family member, is a loan and not a gift. What you have going for you is that without any documentation of an additional loan the court might see it your way. Brother's testimony might help. For whatever it's worth, if you get the opportunity to split the difference with the dealer and recover $450, take it. God luck in court today. I hope that you will enter a positive rating for my assistance here by clicking on 3, 4, or 5, for which there is no additional cost to you. Thanks again for using JUST ANSWER.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Did this advice just cost me $59?
Expert:  Irwin Law replied 6 months ago.
We are not employees of Just Answer, and we have nothing to do with billing or payment arrangements. Therefore, I can't tell you what you are paying them.

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