What are my rights if a car dealership owes me $15,000 after I traded in my truck for a car?

UPDATED: Oct 18, 2013

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What are my rights if a car dealership owes me $15,000 after I traded in my truck for a car?

They said they would pay me after they received the title which they sent out for. I told them when I traded it in that I needed the money ASAP. They knew this. They didn’t do the paperwork right and after 3 weeks I still haven’t been paid and they have to redo the paperwork. This will probably take another 3 weeks. I am in dire straights as I am a student and currently living off of the Post 9/11 GI Bill. With the government shutdown I haven’t been paid in three months. They still refuse to pay me. Is there any legal action that I can take? I need to move out of my house by the end of the month and have no money to buy food or pay bills.

Asked on October 18, 2013 under Business Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If someone doesn't pay you money they contractually (per an agreement) owe you, you could sue them. However, bear in mind that even a small claims suit will typically take 2 - 4 months to resolve, from the time you file the papers to appearing in court. After that, it may still take a few weeks to be paid, even if you win, and even if they honor the judgment, instead of forcing you to use collections procedures against them. Unfortunately, there really is no mechanism for recovering money faster than that.

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