What can I do if I’m in the process of buying a flipped home and I’m not being given an appliance that was promised?

They made over $250,000 on the flip. There was a sign on the wall in the kitchen saying that a Jenn-air fridge would be coming the next week when we made the deal. We even asked him if it was counter depth and he said yes. Now, today (a month later) eight days before closing, he says he is putting in a Samsung or he can give us $1700. I have a picture of the sign that clearly said it would be a Jenn air fridge (to match the appliances). A Jenn air costs at least $3000 without a warranty. Can he get away with that? Isn’t that fraud?

Asked on August 4, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Oregon

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It would be fraud if at the time he made the promise (via the sign) to provide the Jenn Air, he was lying, or did not intend to provide that fridge. Even if it's not fraud, though, it may be breach of contract, since a court could find that the contract of sale was to buy the home as represented, and that included having a Jenn Air fridge. So you may have a viable legal claim for the Jenn Air. Unfortunately, if he won't voluntarily provide it (or the $3,000 it costs), you'd have to sue him to seek the money, and lawsuits have their own costs, in terms of both time (e.g. time away from work--court is held during the work day) and money (court costs at least; you can avoid legal fees if you act as your own attorney, or pro se), so you need to decide if it would be worthwhile to sue the flipper for the extra money (the extra $1,300).

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It would be fraud if at the time he made the promise (via the sign) to provide the Jenn Air, he was lying, or did not intend to provide that fridge. Even if it's not fraud, though, it may be breach of contract, since a court could find that the contract of sale was to buy the home as represented, and that included having a Jenn Air fridge. So you may have a viable legal claim for the Jenn Air. Unfortunately, if he won't voluntarily provide it (or the $3,000 it costs), you'd have to sue him to seek the money, and lawsuits have their own costs, in terms of both time (e.g. time away from work--court is held during the work day) and money (court costs at least; you can avoid legal fees if you act as your own attorney, or pro se), so you need to decide if it would be worthwhile to sue the flipper for the extra money (the extra $1,300).


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