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AttorneyTom, Attorney
Category: Legal
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I had two cars for sale and some people came by to buy both

Customer Question

I had two cars for sale and some people came by to buy both of them with cash. I told them I couldn't sell both cars because I hadn't yet found a car. In the meantime the dealer ordered me a car that won't be available until mid to late July. The night they came over they gave me an envelope of cash ($7000) and took the plates off and I signed the registration to them That was April 30. Now they want their money back because they cannot wait that long for the second car.

This is what the email I typed up said. My question is the email legally binding? She bargained me down to lower than what the dealer even offered on the trade in.

I have received today from Roasaria Elvina Mazariegos of XXXXX
Silver Spring, MD 20902

for the partial payment of the two cars
2003 Toyota Corolla LE
2004 VW Passat TDI

With the agreement of an additional payment of
$7,650. before the end of May.

Seroun Mei Mei Wang
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  AttorneyTom replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for the opportunity to answer your question. I am sending this answer to you only a few minutes after you submitted your question.
It's not possible to review documents, in whole or in part, in this forum. For that reason, it's not possible for me to review your email. However, I can explain how the law works.
A one-way email doesn't bind anyone to anything but a mutual agreement can, and an agreement can be reached through email. In other words, if a seller sends a buyer a receipt for partial payment, that could provide evidence in a legal action arising from the sale. However, it would not constitute a contract because the other party has not indicated agreement to anything. On the other hand, a contract could be created through email if an individual sent an email stating "I will sell you the item in exchange for $1,000 and you will be able to pick it up on July 1, 2012" and if the other party responded with "I accept."
Payment can provide evidence that an oral agreement was reached, as can the provision of a receipt. If two people enter into an oral agreement, that could bind both you and the other party. For example, if you've already agreed that the buyer will pay a certain amount but that the car will not be delivered until a certain date, the buyer would be bound by that agreement and wouldn't generally be entitled to a refund. However, if the buyer sued you, you'd need to be able to show that there was an agreement that the vehicle would be delivered at a later date and not immediately upon receiving payment.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Why can't you look at the email I copied and pasted to the question. My email promises that I would let her have the car at the end of May and now I am asking for an extension to late July. That's when over the telephone she said she wanted her money back for the first Car that she already has a title and registration to for over one month. Am I obligated to buy it back? Am I obligated to sell the second car to her as per email.

As you said she never responded to my email and signed my name. No physical signature was ever made. On the internet it says that emails are binding documents, but this email was never responded to. It was just a statement and I typed my name.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I didn't see your second answer that the email you sent said that you replied. The second answer is not here.
Expert:  AttorneyTom replied 5 years ago.
I apologize if I was a bit vague as to why I cannot review the email. That was unintended. Document review requires providing legal advice or legal services, and that's not something we can do responsibly or ethically in this forum. Therefore, I cannot review your email, as it would be irresponsible of me to do that. However, I can provide more information.
Your obligations depend on the terms of your agreement. Even an oral (spoken) agreement can be binding, but it would be better if you had a written agreement because that would outline the terms of the agreement. Therefore, if the original agreement was that the buyer would receive the vehicle on a specific date and that the buyer would pay in advance, that agreement would generally be enforceable. However, the buyer could try to allege that he or she paid in full, that there was no agreement to delay the transfer of the vehicle, and that you breached the agreement. If the buyer did that and sued, you would need to show that the terms of the agreement dictated that hte vehicle would not be transfered until the specified future date. Because it's an oral agreement, it could be difficult to prove, but not necessarily impossible.
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I wrote in the agreement that with the second payment for the second car they could have by the end of May. They never responded to this email and I am not ready to give over the second car because the dealer ordered a specific car for me that is not coming until the end of July.
She said on the phone that is too long to wait for her so I took that as a cancellation of the email contract that she never responded to. Another thing is that she is using her daughters email so the conversation is all between the woman's daughter and myself.

Bottom line, can I get out of this and give the car to the dealer as a trade because they said that they couldn't wait till July. They now want to bring back the black car and sue me in court which was a phone message I received the other day. I think they are blowing this all out of proportion. I agreed to prices below Kelly Blue Book and they are still haggling with me.
Expert:  AttorneyTom replied 5 years ago.
Presumably, you reached an agreement with the buyer before she gave you the money she did. That agreement would generally be binding. If an agreement requires a person to turn over an item at the end of a certain month, that individual's change of circumstances doesn't entitle her to extend the period. Alternatively, if the agreement specified that the item would be turned over once a certain condition was met (such as obtaining a new car), the individual could potentially extend until the condition was met (though there can be issues with that too).
If a certain date was agreed upon to turn over the car, that would be the date on which it would have to be relinquished. A unilateral change of need or circumstances wouldn't generally be enough to change that, absent an agreement to the contrary. Now, whoever sues to enforce it has to prove the terms of the agreement, but statements provided in the receipt or in other emails you sent to her could be useful to her in proving that.
Please remember that my job here is to provide accurate information about the law. Providing bad news is the hardest part of doing my job but it's a big part of doing my job well. If you feel that the law is wrong or unfair, I'd strongly encourage you to contact your legislators, as they are the only ones who can change it.