Need Help, Used Car Dealer, Small Claims?
I'll try to keep short again. Year ago I bought a used VW, car ran good, then timing chain broke and bent valves, car quit, wouldn't move no more. Dealer said he would try to fix, only if I sign goodwill agreemnt first. Goodwill said, no guarantee fix will work, car still AS-IS, may be damaged while fixing, he not paying for rental or hotel. Month later car running good. He offer to fix wipers because rubber gone and scratching glass, but I need sign first, so that fixed too. He said that since I had no car that month, he would give it to me free, and gave me a receipt on a payment I did not make. Unlike before, he didn't get my signature on this, we didn't have this agreement, but he did it anyway. FTC says you can sue a dealer for fraud or misrepresentation. I have evidence that he misrepresented my payment. Clerk at court gave me papers to fill out, says I can sue for damages (1X) + punitive damages (3X), for a total of 4X. But what do I sue for, just the payment $420 X4 = $1680? Or the whole thing, $8,700 X4 = 34800? I'm in Nevada, small claims max is 10k, anything more go to arbitration because I signed agreement, but I want more than 1680. How do I do that? I dont need grief, just help, please help
Dealer did not put payment in computer to let others know that the month paid for, it's a one man business, some young guy doing it all on his own, his own fixes, books, everything, so he doesn't need to make a note for his coworkers he dont have any, but he still misrepresented my payment anyways, FTC says thats misrepresenation is fraud, and I can sue
I'm not an idiot, I'm not a baffoon, and I'm not a piece of work, I don't need name calling, I said no grief, I just need help
I am aware that I asked this question before, but nobody helped
- John DavisLv 41 year agoFavourite answer
There's good news, and bad news.
First the good news... Your compensatory damages does not necessarily have to be limited to "economic damages" or "compensatory damages", such as the value of your payment, but may also include "non-economic damages", such as mental or emotional anguish, loss of compansionship (such as a strained marriage because your spouse got the idea that you can't pay your bills), inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life, injury to reputation, etc... The punitive damages that you mentioned earlier are often referred to as "Exemplary Damages", which is a pentalty that is not for compensatory purposes, but intended to act as a deterrent to prevent future violations. Exemplary damages are usually only permitted if the injurious act by the seller was performed either knowingly or intentionally. The suit may also seek court costs and attorney fees, as well as interest.
Now the bad news...
When a dealer (or any merchant) for that matter is sued for misrepresentation or for defrauding a consumer, it is typically a violation of the state's "Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act." I believe that every state has such a law in effect. I operate in Texas, and here it is called the "Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Consumer Protection Act (DTPA)." DTPAs can vary from one state to the next, so while they are generally similar, what applies in Texas may not apply to you. Under the Texas DTPA, a merchant (such as a used car dealer) may be sued if the merchant:
1) - Breaches a Warranty - such as Implied or Express warranties
2) - Commits an Unconscionable Act - Taking advantage of a consumer's lack of capacity (ex. selling a Ford Pinto for a million dollars to someone who has alzheimers)
3) - Any False, Misleading or Deceptive Act - This list is quite extensive, so I hope this part is self explanatory. But in general, it is an act that the consumer relies upon which is found by the court to be detrimental to the consumer.
Obviously, you are not suing due to a Warranty concern (1), nor because you lack mental capacity (2), so that leaves False, Misleading or Deceptive Acts (3). A quick review of part 3 is that the seller must of acted in a manner that the court finds to be detrimental to the consumer. While the dealer may have misrepresented your payment, you must consider, what is the probability that the court will find that the dealer's misrepresentation of your payment was detrimental to you? In my opinion, the odds are very low.
What I'm saying is, your complaint doesn't fall under part 1, 2 or 3. The DTPA doesn't cover your complaint at all. Even if it did, I believe that most states require that the consumer send a registered or certified letter of written notice informing the seller of the complaint as well as the proposed remedy (such as monetary compensation). The seller must then pay you the compensation that you asked with in a certain time frame (in Texas it is 60 days), if the seller fails to do so, only then may the suit be filed. You didn't mention that, so I'll assume that you may have skipped that step. Keep in mind that should you proceed with the lawsuit, and the court deems it to be frivolous, then the seller could also seek compensation for any damages that your suit may have caused, such as the economic and non-economic damages that I discussed at the start of my answer, as well as court costs and attorney fees, and interest. The dealer could potentially seek exemplary damages. You could raise the defense of "I acted in good faith and did not knowingly or intentionally file a frivolous lawsuit", but if you spoke about this to any friends or family and the dealer knows about it, and gets someone to testify that you knew that this suit was going nowhere, expect your judgement to be multiplied by 3X for exemplary damages.
- Anonymous1 year ago
You should have refused to sign anything
- ElGrandeLv 71 year ago
Of course you can sue. You can sue you neighbor for having bad hair if you wish.
Will you win? Doubtful. What exactly are you suing for? One payment that was "misrepresented"? This would be a COMPLETELY different case set aside from the car's issues. The judge would dismiss the issues with the vehicle in a heartbeat. You won't receive one cent for your hotel, rentals, etc. Any used vehicle is "as-is" unless noted to the contrary in writing. Do you have paperwork stating they would pay for everything in the event of a fix? From what you wrote, the dealer did everything to help fix the vehicle after point-of-sale in good faith. No law forced him to help you. He could've legally told you to take a hike.
You keep saying "FTC says this, FTC says that"... nobody at the FTC is going to advise you on pre-court matters over the phone or in person. You can infer what you wish off their website.
- zipperLv 71 year ago
Your lucky he will even try to fix it. He had no way of knowing the timing would brake. This does happen, but is not all that normal a thing, if the values stems bent as a result. Any repair is a 50/50 deal. Small claims, MITE work; but I don't think it will be of any help.
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- BortLv 61 year ago
So you're asking if you should and what you should sue a person that did all they could to help you out and keep you as a customer. They even gave you a free month's worth of credit that you never have to pay on the car because they felt bad for your situation. And you want to turn around and sue them. You're a jerk! You want to stab someone in the back for helping you.
Shame on anyone who "helps" you with this. And shame on you.
- TheRealLv 61 year ago
You're confusing "nobody helped" with "nobody gave me the answer I wanted to hear". Sorry, but you've been told time and time again you have no case. The fact that you refuse to hear the truth doesn't change that fact.Source(s): 20 years retail auto sales experience.
- Anonymous1 year ago
Dealer did far more than he had to. You would lose in court...quickly and decisively. Absurd to even consider it. Your chances of proving misrepresentation are very low. But you can sue. It costs money and you will lose. It seems you are a slow learner. So go ahead & sue. Please. Then you will see.
- Anonymous1 year ago
Let it go. I think the dealer has been kind enough to even talk to you, much more fixing the car. NO used car dealer will fix a car with a broken timing chain FOR FREE.
- Anonymous1 year ago
You don't have a case,Sparky.
Btw..You already asked this 😉
- EvaLv 71 year ago
You are a fing idiot. He did not "misrepresent" your payment and you have no damages to sue over. He MADE a payment for you. It didn't come out of your pocket. You aren't ever going to have to pay it. He fixed the car. You have NO DAMAGES!!!!! What don't you understand?