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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 116730
Experience:  Attorney experienced in commercial litigation.
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In 2012, as I was considering retirement the next year, my

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In 2012, as I was considering retirement the next year, my mother, for whom I was the caregiver, suggested that I get me a retirement car. I had my 2nd Nissan Altima for which I was well pleased. So, being obedient, I first did my research and obtained a quote for a 2013 Altima from a dealership in a nearby city. Having already been pre-approved by my credit union for $25,000, I decided to check out Altimas at a dealership closer to home. This dealer matched the quote I had already received; however, he did not use my credit union. When questioned, the finance agent stated that he got me a better deal by going through Nissan.
I feel as though I am being continually taken advantage of, first by the dealership and now by the bank for this 2013 Nissan Maxima. I went into the dealership to purchase a 2013 Altima but there were problems with this car. , I was instructed to bring it in after advising the salesman of the problem. I did this with the false understanding that repairs would be eliminated at the dealership; however, this was not the case. The salesman suggested that I drive the Maxima to see how I liked it. After coming back, I told him I liked the car but could not afford it, but he went on to advise me that they would work with me on the pricing so I could purchase the Maxima. I continually reiterated that it could not exceed my $25,000 pre-approved loan amount.
Needless to say, I ended up walking out with the Maxima - owing over $45,000(this included a $4,000 loyalty certificate). When I questioned the amount, I was told by the financial agent that the contract had to be written this way to remove the 2013 Altima. I kept asking, but was never told the price of the Maxima. I had come straight from work, it was late at night, I was tired and felt battered, and I was concerned about my mom, so I just signed so I could get home. Using my IRA, I never missed a payment nor was I ever late.
I live off social security and a small pension check that are being stretched monthly to cover my living expenses. . After being informed earlier this year that I had only 10 months left in my IRA at the rate in which it was being used, I was at a loss as to what I could do.
Knowing that, within the next month or two I would be unable to continue paying the monthly payments (almost $500; I only get 1225 from SSI), I contacted the bank and was told that I could surrender the car. However, I checked first to see how much the pay-off balance would be ($16,500) and the value of the car ($12,000 - $17,000)
Today (8/25/16), I received a certified letter stating that I had to pay $7,120.98 within the next 10 days. Right now, I don’t have $70 and can’t possibly take on any more debt. I don’t know what the car was sold for (sealed bid) but it appears to me that the car was literally “Given away”. Even in a sealed bid the starting price should have been at least $12000 which would not leave me owing $7,102.98. How can I fight the amount that they are demanding I pay?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 10 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
Unfortunately, the arguments you are making of their unfair and deceptive practices and bait and switch with you are too late. You could have raised those issues back in 2013, but the statute of limitations on those claims is 1 year from date you entered the contract.
I am afraid that if you surrendered the car and did a voluntary repossession, then you are liable for the difference in the auction price and loan balance. The good news here is you can dispute the amount due if they did not sell the car at or near book value. So if book value on the car was at least $12,000 and they did not sell it for at least that, then you need to send them a letter informing them they had a duty to sell at or near book value and as they did not do so you do not owe them the $7,000 and only owe them the difference between book value and the loan balance and you need to offer them $2500 and argue the car should have sold for at least $14000. You do owe something on a voluntary repossession if they did not get enough for the balance of the loan, so now you have to fight them on the amount.
If they refuse, then you would have to sue them for breach of contract for not selling the car at the proper reasonable book value.

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