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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was wondering if anyone can give me some legal advice about a situation that I'm in. This Monday I was searching on Craigslist and was looking for a truck. Found one and called the guy and went right over. He told me he is moving back to Texas and needs to sell two of his three vehicles because he can only take one and the truck was one of them. I test drove it and I asked what the lowest he would go. At first he did not want to barter because he said another person called about the truck and he was going to wait until he heard from him but the guy never returned his call. So I told him that I'm here now and I want the truck and again asked him what is the lowest he take. Now the truck on Craigslist ad was for $4300. He told me he would take $4000. I told him deal. Since it was after 5 the banks were closed so I could not give him the money until tomorrow (Tuesday). I asked him what amount did he want for a deposit and he said $100. I told him no problem that will work. Before I gave him any money I told him I want a receipt stating how much the final price is, the amount of the deposit, the VIN number and the date and we both would sign it. He made out two, one for me and one for him. We shook hands and I asked him what about the other guy if he calls back and offers you more are you going to back out on the deal? He said no, a deal is a deal and he would not do that.

So I go back home and a few hours later I get a call from him saying he cannot find the title and does not know where he put it. He offered my money back and I told him he can get a duplicate title from the DMV in seven working days and it is only $20. He agreed and he said first thing Tuesday morning he would go to the DMV. Well after work on Tuesday I called the guy and he said the title should be in the mail of Monday or Tuesday of the next week. I said that is fine call me when you get the title and I will give you the remaining balance and he said fine. Well today I get a call from him telling me he had bad news that his wife decided to stay here in NY and he is not moving and the truck he has to keep. Now what I need to know what legally can I do? Can I take him to court? I mean is this not a contract he basically signed with me? I doubt I would go to court and it would be in small claims do forget legal advice it will cost me. I would usually just get my deposit back and move on but I have been looking for this type of truck for over 5 months and all of them were rotted to hell and beat up. This truck was from Texas and it does not have a spot of rust anywhere on the truck and it runs great so this is why I do not want to give up if I do not have to but do you think I should even bother? I pretty sure the other guy who was interested looked at the truck and offered him more money for the truck and he is trying to back out on the deal which pisses me off. Funny how one minute he cannot find the title and next minute he is not moving. Well any help would greatly be appreciated.

Thanks, James
 

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Unfortunately, you don't have much recourse. I suppose you could spend a lot of lawyer money and maybe come out on top eventually, but that would cost a heck of a lot more than the truck would. I had the same thing happen to me, but from a dealer. The salesman and I agreed on a price over the phone after a test drive and I said I'd be in the next day, and he sold it out from under me to someone who would pay more later in the day. Even had the same "I wouldn't do that to you" conversation.
You don't have a contract, just an agreement. While technically you could fight him, there's no bill of sale and nothing signed that would make this anything other than his word against yours.

Sounds like he wasn't really straight with you from the start, though.
 

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James,

Im a manager at a local dealership and this happens to us all the time. Someone comes in and test drives a vehicle, signs a buyers order(contract) and agrees to buy the car and the next day backs out and demands thier deposit back. We could probably go to court and keep the deposit but it's not worth the hassle. I think your best bet is to get your deposit back and move on. It would be too costly to pursue it and the judge would just order the seller to give your deposit back. Buying and selling cars sucks sometimes. Hope that helps.
 

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You really have no options, other than getting your $100 back. You can't take someone to court and force them to sell you something. Even if he does end up selling it to another individual, there really is nothing you can do. It sucks, especially i you found your dream vehicle, but it's still his property and he can do with it as he pleases. All you can do is ask him to give you a call if he decides to sell in the future, although judging his actions, you may not want to deal with him again.
 

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Get your deposit back and move on. There are more important things to use your energy on. I've been there before. it's not worth it
 

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I'm not a lawyer, but I do believe that there is case law and you would come out on top in court. But with that being said, the vehicle would end up costing double after you pay the lawyer. If you REALLY want, I'll look up the case law, but I think you are better off getting your funds back and part ways..
 

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The other aspect to consider is you might get it to court and you just might win, but who knows what 'natural disaster' may strike the vehicle right before you collect it.

It would suck to go through all that time and expense only to find out a tree 'accidentally' fell on it the night before when they were clearing the yard or something. Or even really accidentally had something happen to it.

I mean its not like the county or someone is going to impound and hold the thing until the courts decide, and if they did, well that'll be more fees as they do charge for impound storage just like towing companies charge for storing vehicles they tow to thier place instead of yours.

I'm with the rest of the crowd:
Get your deposit money back and walk away and take it as one of *life's little lessons about used vehicles.
Prolly woulda right at the moment he gave a 'can't find the title' speach actually, but that's just me.

*my personal lesson learned long ago?
Check all of the lights before buying, and again immediately before leaving the property post purchase.
Some dickweeds like to take all the bulbs out for thier new ride because apparently they are too expensive to buy new, and once you leave thier yard, it implies full acceptance of the goods so you can enjoy that new car and the fresh new traffic violation ticket that comes with it when you get pulled over on the way home.

Oh, that 'left the property' thing also applies to someplace just finishing an engine/transmission/whatever rebuild for you and you leave the yard or lot for a test drive. You left the property, so therefore had accepted the work as~is, even if it did blow up or fall completely apart 1/4 mile down the road.
Been there, done that, and all you can do is give them the stinkeye and hope thier place burns down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
This is what I thought I just had to confirm it. Chances were very slim I would spend the money to bring him to court. The truck is nothing special just a rust free southern 1995 Chevy pickup! LOL! I'm a mechanic by trade so I know what to look for. Thanks for all your input, greatly appreciated!

James
 
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