Bogus legal threats - true story


soviautos.com
07-22-2006, 10:15 PM
My nephew tries the internet route with a local ford dealer. They do all the negotiating on the phone and email. The dealer says that they'll get the car from another dealer but only if he commits to the deal via an email letter. He does.

Anyway, the deal falls through because the car the dealer found didn't match the description of what they agreed on. My nephew walks away.

Next week he gets a registered letter from a lawyer representing the dealer saying that he's obligated to buy the car because there was an oral agreement that was substantiated by the email.

He gave me the letter and I laughed. I told him not to respond since in the USA the law demands a written contract for all goods valued at $500 or more and that this situation was neither the implied contract for goods or services or an enforceable contract or the oral kind that the lawyer stated.

So if you are unlucky enough to run into this insane dealer (located in the northeast suburbs of Philly) and he tries this little gem, read 'em this.

Zackary
07-22-2006, 10:56 PM
My nephew tries the internet route with a local ford dealer. They do all the negotiating on the phone and email. The dealer says that they'll get the car from another dealer but only if he commits to the deal via an email letter. He does.

Anyway, the deal falls through because the car the dealer found didn't match the description of what they agreed on. My nephew walks away.

Next week he gets a registered letter from a lawyer representing the dealer saying that he's obligated to buy the car because there was an oral agreement that was substantiated by the email.

He gave me the letter and I laughed. I told him not to respond since in the USA the law demands a written contract for all goods valued at $500 or more and that this situation was neither the implied contract for goods or services or an enforceable contract or the oral kind that the lawyer stated.

So if you are unlucky enough to run into this insane dealer (located in the northeast suburbs of Philly) and he tries this little gem, read 'em this.

wow.. i feel kinda sorry for your newphew.. the dealer was plainly trying to screw him over.. i wonder if the same legal issues with the 500$ thing is the same down here in cannada..

ilgoldstein
07-24-2006, 02:24 AM
There is probably something similar, it comes from English Common Law and is called a Statute of Frauds. An itneresting question would be if the email constitutes the required "writing" to make the contract legal. The kicker is that the dealer did not deliver the car that was agreed upon, so that is what killed the deal, (even if the email acceptance would have been binding.)

I hate to agree with the tactic of ignoring the letter, however. A better response would be to send a letter to the lawyer (1) asserting that there was no contract as the email did not constitute a legal writing signed by the buyer, (2) the contract failed because the seller attempted to deliver nonconforming goods and (3) their client's implied threat of litigation is an attempt at extortion.

Igovert500
07-24-2006, 02:30 AM
which dealership, that's my area

soviautos.com
07-24-2006, 06:13 PM
I can see how ignoring the letter might seem risky, but only if the suit had legs. In this case it didn't. There are a couple of instances where it might have been valid, such as if you had been already contracted with a carpenter to build a deck and told him to add a new railing and then stiffed him on the extra. There's an implied contract there. In this case, the email stated that the car had to be a certain VIN and the dealer could not deliver, so no basis for the suit. I was so sure that they only wanted to get back into the discussion, with a scared potential buyer that used this tactic.

Moderator: I hope you mind if I don't mention the dealer. I'm always uncomfortable naming names.

By the way, you should check out the Barnes and Noble in Jenkintown :naughty:

ilgoldstein
07-24-2006, 10:27 PM
I tend to agree, and usually that will be the end of it. There is a growing trend in many jurisdictions to recognize "electronic signatures," and that is what worries me. I just think he should let them know that HE knows the sale failed due to failure to deliver. Actually, there are a couple of interesting contract law questions here, but I agree there was a failure of the agreement.

corning_d3
07-24-2006, 10:32 PM
An electronic signature is binding here(AR), but like everyone said, the deal is null and void if the dealer didn't keep up his end of the contract.....

Igovert500
07-25-2006, 01:44 PM
You don't have to post it, just Private Message me the dealership. I have quite a few friends who work for dealerships in the area, I used to myself. And I'd be interested to know.

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