The Perturbed Pastor and the Audacious Auto Dealership-Assert Your Rights When Purchasing a Car (PART 2)
The last blog post told the first part of a story involving a pastor who was getting a raw deal from a well-known car dealership. The second part of the story is continued below.
Since the pastor was dead-set on keeping the car, I reviewed the sales contract and discussed it with a friend in the car financing biz. After doing so, I told the pastor he didn’t have to return the car because he wasn’t legally obligated to do so. This was despite the fact that the dealership was simply misrepresenting to him that he had to return the car. In reality, the dealership would have to honor the sales contract if the Pastor held its “feet to the fire.”
Most car sale contracts contain a provision that allows the seller to cancel the contract and take back the car if the seller is unable to assign the contract and loan. The contract that the pastor signed contained one as well. However, the provision set forth that the seller only had ten days to give notice of its right to cancel the contract. Here, the dealership waited over 30 days and it lost the right to cancel the contract as a result. My conclusion was that the dealership was legally required to honor the agreement and that it was making misrepresentations by telling the Pastor he had to return the car.
Under California law, there are cooling off periods for certain consumer transactions. A cooling off period is nothing more than a period of time following a transaction or purchase where the buyer may cancel the deal. This affords the buyer a way out if he later experiences overwhelming buyer’s remorse. California laws establish cooling offer periods for: health club memberships, dating service agreements, funeral contracts (pre-death), certain service contracts, job listing agreements, credit repair services contracts, dental services contracts and weight-loss services agreements, just to name a few. Likewise, federal laws set forth cooling off periods for mortgage loans, home improvement contracts (involving a security interest in the property) and other transactions involving a security lien on someone’s home.
There is no buyer cooling off period under California law for car purchases unless the buyer purchases that option. Here, the agreement the pastor agreed to explicitly stated the same and required a separate signature acknowledging it. The pastor did not purchase the right to cancel. I thought it was fundamentally unfair that the dealership would be attempting to cancel the transaction more than 30 days after the purchase, when the Pastor was prohibited from cancelling the contract 30 seconds after he signed on the dotted line.
I contacted the dealership and told them exactly that. I told them the Pastor would not be returning the car and that they had lost the right to cancel for failing to exercise it within ten days of the agreement. After a little back and forth, the dealership agreed that the pastor could keep the car. Although the Pastor wasn’t required to, he arranged to have a co-signor on the transaction. The transaction was approved. The pastor and his family were able to keep the car and that car dealership was able to return to business as usual.
If you or a loved one has been taking advantage of or treated unfairly by a business or another person, contact the Piccuta Law Group today to discuss your rights. Our attorneys have extensive experience litigating claims involving: breach of contract, unfair business practices, fraud and consumer rights. Our attorneys are here to help you and will provide a consultation at no cost.