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    Can I sue my car dealership for breach of contract?

    I recently when to purchase a vehicle, upon walking into the showroon I found the car I wanted. I sat down with a saleman and he informed me that this is a special edition and only 2 were made. I put $100 deposit down on the car and the saleman said he would put the car in tha back so it does not get sold.
    I came back the following day with family members and test drove the car. I sat down with the financial department went over the numbers and signed the vehicle purchase agreement. I informed them my current lease was not yet up and I would be back 10 days later to trade in my vehicle and pick up my new one.
    When I arrived back at the dealership they informed me my car had been sold even though I was the first one to sign the agreement. They cannot get me the same car since it was a special edition but they offered me $500 towards a new different car. In the meantime I added the car to my insurance policy so it would be insured when I drove out of the dealership that day. Now someone else was driving a car that I was insuring. Can I sue my dealership for a breach in contract and what would I be entitled to?


  2. thelawprofessor's Avatar
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    Yes, you can sue the dealership. I would. I'd be furious since you had a purchase agreement for a specific car. I'm not sure if you could sue to obtain that specific car under the rule of law known as "specific performance" and think that, at the very least, you're entitled to some compensation.

    Let me ask you this - did you sign a financing agreement for this specific car? Do you have any paperwork that identifies this car specifically? I'm not quite sure what your total damages are just yet. Very sorry to hear about your "loss."
    Forum posts are not legal advice, are for educational purposes only & are not substitutes for proper consultation with legal counsel.

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    Similar Issue with Dealership breach of contract

    I have a similar issue as posted above. My husband and I purchased a vehicle from a major car dealership. We had secured our own financing prior to purchasing the vehicle and had signed all of the purchase documents, provided the down payment, and provided the finance approval documentation as well as signed the financing agreement on the sale date. The only item we had pending was the actual blank check issued by our finance company which was in the mail and had not yet arrived.

    At the time of purchase, we had a print out of the loan approval with all necessary details including terms, payment and approval amount. Just after signing all of the documentation, the dealership advised us that because my husband did not have a hard copy of his driver's license, they could not release the car to us even though I had mine. So they told us to bring the hard copy when we brought back the blank check we were awaiting from the finance company which we advised them would be within 3 days, 4 days max as the financing bank had confirmed that the check had already been mailed.

    Over the 2 days, my husband went to the DMV to get a replacement driver's license when he was advised that a hold had been placed on it by the child support agency which we later were able to clear; however, not without a procesing delay by the DMV as the clearance would take anywhere from 1 week to a month to finalize.

    On day number 3 when we realized that the license issue could in no way be rectified that quickly despite all of our efforts, my husband phoned the dealership and let them know the situation with his license and was advised that we could not purchase the car without his license and that it was a "deal breaker". I believed this to be false as the dealership had told us that it is the finance company's policy to request both driver's on title be licensed which therefore meant that it was a financing issue and not a sales issue and we had already supplied all required items to the finance company and had secured financing. So I immediately made a call to my finance company with the information in order to verify this information as well as the mailing date of the check and my finance company stated that it was not an issue for them as we had already submitted al requirements and needed to supply nothing further to secure the financing and the check had been mailed as previously inquired. Additinally, the finance company told me that the check would not have been mailed if any additional documentation was required to secure the financing.

    Approximately an hour after my husband's call to the dealership and immediately after my speaking with our finance company, I phoned the dealership and requested to speak with the sales manager. before advising him of the situation, I inquired as to the whether both parties needed to have a valid license to purchase a vehicle if financing had already been secured outside of their dealership. his response was no that only the person driving the car off of the lot need be licensed. At that point I advised him of the situation and he then placed me on hold for approximately 5-7 minutes. When he got back on the line he responded that he would like to check with the finance company to verify the loan approval nd he would call me right back. When he phoned back after having verified the financing approval and check mailing date, he stated that the finance company told him that they still needed to verify income and that they would be phoning my in the morning to confirm and that after they did that that the finance company would phone him to further validate the loan. He stated that he would wait until 12 noon to receive the call and that once he received the call that everything would be fine and we could go ahead and come to could pick up our car.

    By this time, I am leary of the information and rephoned my finance company to see if they did in fact need to verify income as upon my prior inquiries thay had stated that all income and other requirements had been satisfied. When i spoke tot he finance company, they advised me that no such issue was pending and that everything was ok and I should just wait until I got the check in the mail the following day and go pick up our car.

    The following day after the mail had come, I spoke with the dealership advising them that we were on our way down to with the check. Approximately a half hour later, we received phone call from the dealership from yet another manager stating that they had sold our car. Needlesstosay I was extremely upset and spoke with the General Manger who only offered to try and place us in a comparable car which happened to be 2 years newer and quite a bit more money as there was nothing comparable to the equipment or sales price as the one we had purchased.

    I am confused as to how this is possible being information we have been given reflects that we should have been able to leave with our car the day we purchased it. Additionally, we never received a phone call stating that the car was being placed back out on the lot for sale or to even check to see what the status was of our situation prior to the sale to the other customer.

    My question is do my husband and I have a valid lawsuit given we did not lose our down payment? Ultimately we left without a evhicle as they refused to sell us what was comparable on their lot for the same price and we therefore had to go elsewhere where we spent more money as a result.

    I'd appreciate any guidance as this issue disturbs me being I believe there to be discrimination issues within this case as my husband and I are African-American who purchased this car from a dealership in a high-profile area of town and found the car having been sold so quickly after being listed on the internet for over 2 weeks.

    Thank you in advance for your time and assistance. It is greatly appreciated.

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    Bait and Switch!

    Despite my very low and detestable opinion of majority of car dealerships and car salesmen, I would have to say no; there was no racial malice involved here and what you went through was basically a bait-and-switch con job that nearly worked.

    We see this kind of car ads all the time, especially in dedicated car trading magazines where most used car dealers advertise a certain car (for example; or a few) with pictures and the works and even give the VIN number of the vehicle and urge you to call, only to be told that “that car is sold I’m afraid. But I have such and such a car…” Also, dealerships make better profits when they procure financing through one of their own companies and so do not like it when people come to them with pre-approved financing.

    And the parts about your husband’s driver license and income verification were all part of the well rehearsed and time honored dog and pony show and you can make a large bet that the very vehicle that was supposedly sold, is sitting in the back of the dealership.

    As for your question: yes, of course you have a cause of action against the dealership for breach of contract, but what would be the measure of your damages which is what all civil suits boil down to. You and your husband did the classy and honorable thing by what the law says “not resting on your claim” and went elsewhere and purchased a similar vehicle, albeit a bit more expensive. On top of that, the dealership in their true conniving nature offered to cure the breach by offering a similar product and then returned your deposit.

    But depending on how adamant you and your husband are about a lawsuit, which I get the feeling is what you are leaning towards, and if you can prove that “that” vehicle was never sold to another buyer, then you can sue in a capacity as “Private Attorney General” on behalf and for good of the public (demanding a jury trial) on a cause of action (1) for “Fraudulent Inducement to Contract” asking for punitive damages to punish and make an example of the dealership and (2) for “Permanent Injunction” prohibiting the dealership from pulling such stunts in the future.

    Enjoy your new car.

    fredrikklaw
    Only a lawyer can use 10,000 words to write a documewnt and then call it a Brief!

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    i recently puchased a vehicle from a dealership done all the paper work and gave 2 checks for 1ooo each. drove the car off the lott and was called 33 days after having the car in my position and was told the finance company rejected my contract and had to do 1 of 3 things. one was to find a co-signer the 2nd one was to find a bank to finance the car and the 3rd was to return the car. what do i need to do and how many other people have they done this to. they already cashed one check and said they would return some of the money depending on the wear and tear on the vehicle. i would like an proffisional opinion please.....cause i dont want to take the car back i would rather take a different route

    big ben
    Last edited by 1canburn; 02-07-2012 at 08:06 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1canburn View Post
    i recently puchased a vehicle from a dealership done all the paper work and gave 2 checks for 1ooo each. drove the car off the lott and was called 33 days after having the car in my position and was told the finance company rejected my contract and had to do 1 of 3 things. one was to find a co-signer the 2nd one was to find a bank to finance the car and the 3rd was to return the car. what do i need to do and how many other people have they done this to. they already cashed one check and said they would return some of the money depending on the wear and tear on the vehicle. i would like an proffisional opinion please.....

    big ben


    It isn't the dealer's responsibility to find you a lender.

    Buried somewhere in the pile of paperwork you signed, you'll find words to that effect.

    I suggest you return the car, ASAP.

    What if you don't?

    Well, they'll report it as stolen.

    The charge won't exactly be that, but it'll be a felony.

    So, return the car.

    Yes, they'll charge you for using the car.

    You've been driving it for three months, right?

    Dude, there ain't never no free lunches.

    Read those papers you signed for more details on what they can do.

    I wouldn't take too long doing that, they are going to up the ante if you delay.

    You don't want some cop stopping you one night, only to end up in some filthy, county jail!!!!

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    Call your local Attorney Generals office and mention the words Spot Delivery...you have legal rights regarding this matter.

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    Hello, A dealer had a vehicle posted on Ebay. I was interested and won the auction. I contacted the dealer the same day the auction was over and was advised that the car I had won was sold 2 days ago. I feel that they just told me this because they did not want to sell the car for the winning auction price. Is there anything I can do? Is this considered false advertisement to sell a vehicle they do not have?

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    Unless money changed hands you have no argument.

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    I'd report the incident to eBay. If the seller was a regular on eBay, it'll go on his record there. If he was a first time seller, he'd probably disappear so his eBay rating won't make a difference.

    The seller profile/rating on those sites gives one some idea of the trustworthiness of the seller.

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    I purchased a car on 7/14 (brand new). Dealership would not let me take car as recalled part was discovered and needed replacement, they gave me a rental car to use while waiting for part to come in and replace. On 7/23 car was complete and I was supposed to receive it when finance department at dealership called and said that they cancelled the contract. The reason they gave me was "because they could not make me happy". Hoping I'd fall for that lame excuse, but I didn't. In any event, I had received confirmation from finance company (GM Finance) on 7/19 that loan had been funded and funds dispersed to dealership. I went through my contract with a fine tooth comb and the only 2 reasons I found stating dealership had the right to cancel the contract was due to "lack of being able to finance purchaser" or "if misreprentation occured with credit", neither of which applied. I never did have the car so I returned the rental car to the dealership and they gave me my old trade in vehicle back. I was not happy, as far as I was concerned, the car was financed, the loan was in my name and I was financially responsible for it until the dealer decided to return the funds (I verified several times with GM Financial after this happened).

    As you can well imagine I was not happy about what happened and I was not about to just shrug my shoulders and walk away. I wrote a letter to the GM of the dealership copying in the President of their parent company and also some higher up exec's at GM to not only let them know what happened, but to also let them know how I was treated, which was anything but professional. I got the attention of someone because the controller of the dealership called me last Sat. afternoon letting me know he'd received a copy of the letter from the parent company and was basically groveling and doing what he could to smooth the situation over. After letting him know that I wasn't stupid, that I knew that the reason they cancelled the deal was not because they couldn't make me happy, but because of something else and I would appreciate his honesty, he let me know that they basically were not happy with the trade value / allowance they gave for the vehicle I was trading in (at the time they made the deal) and didn't feel they would be able to get as much as they valued it at when it went to the auction. I explained that as unfortunate as that was for them, at that point it was not my problem. The i's had been dotted and the t's crossed and at that point they should have accepted the loss they were going to take and use it as a learning experience so it wouldn't happen again, but that me as the customer should not have had to be the brunt of their mistake. He completely agreed and apologized and offered to try and personally help me if I was interested in still trying to purchase a car. I let him know I'd have to think about it.

    My questions is, can a dealership legally do this after a deal has been finance and they have received the funds for the deal from the finance company? I am located in Arizona and I've contacted the Attorney General's office who has been no help and only letting me know I could file a complaint, but they could not help me with the legality of the situation. Is this considered breach of contract and do I have any recourse?

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    I purchased a car on 7/14 (brand new). Dealership would not let me take car as recalled part was discovered and needed replacement, they gave me a rental car to use while waiting for part to come in and replace. On 7/23 car was complete and I was supposed to receive it when finance department at dealership called and said that they cancelled the contract. The reason they gave me was "because they could not make me happy". Hoping I'd fall for that lame excuse, but I didn't. In any event, I had received confirmation from finance company (GM Finance) on 7/19 that loan had been funded and funds dispersed to dealership. I went through my contract with a fine tooth comb and the only 2 reasons I found stating dealership had the right to cancel the contract was due to "lack of being able to finance purchaser" or "if misreprentation occured with credit", neither of which applied. I never did have the car so I returned the rental car to the dealership and they gave me my old trade in vehicle back. I was not happy, as far as I was concerned, the car was financed, the loan was in my name and I was financially responsible for it until the dealer decided to return the funds (I verified several times with GM Financial after this happened).

    As you can well imagine I was not happy about what happened and I was not about to just shrug my shoulders and walk away. I wrote a letter to the GM of the dealership copying in the President of their parent company and also some higher up exec's at GM to not only let them know what happened, but to also let them know how I was treated, which was anything but professional. I got the attention of someone because the controller of the dealership called me last Sat. afternoon letting me know he'd received a copy of the letter from the parent company and was basically groveling and doing what he could to smooth the situation over. After letting him know that I wasn't stupid, that I knew that the reason they cancelled the deal was not because they couldn't make me happy, but because of something else and I would appreciate his honesty, he let me know that they basically were not happy with the trade value / allowance they gave for the vehicle I was trading in (at the time they made the deal) and didn't feel they would be able to get as much as they valued it at when it went to the auction. I explained that as unfortunate as that was for them, at that point it was not my problem. The i's had been dotted and the t's crossed and at that point they should have accepted the loss they were going to take and use it as a learning experience so it wouldn't happen again, but that me as the customer should not have had to be the brunt of their mistake. He completely agreed and apologized and offered to try and personally help me if I was interested in still trying to purchase a car. I let him know I'd have to think about it.

    My questions is, can a dealership legally do this after a deal has been finance and they have received the funds for the deal from the finance company? I am located in Arizona and I've contacted the Attorney General's office who has been no help and only letting me know I could file a complaint, but they could not help me with the legality of the situation. Is this considered breach of contract and do I have any recourse?

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    awright517 has now started a new thread - ignore the post above.
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