Must a dealership honor an advertised price that is a typo?

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Must a dealership honor an advertised price that is a typo?

I have been shopping for a car online and I found a new one listed for $3,715. I really liked it so I called the dealership to ask about it and the manager told me it was a typo. I was under the impression that they have to sell the car for the listed price and he told me the dealership was not responsible for his typo and that the price would be updated. I still have the ad of the car with the “wrong” price. Aren’t they obligated to sell the car for the listed price even if it is a typo?

Asked on May 6, 2012 under General Practice, Massachusetts

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In order for there to be a valid contract, there must be an offer and an acceptance.  The car ad is just an invitation to make an offer.

Even if you could claim that there was a valid offer and acceptance constituting a contract, you would not be able to enforce the contract if you knew or should have known of the mistake in the price.  It would be difficult to prove that you did not know the price was a mistake since no new cars these days are sold for $3715.  If this had occurred many years ago when it was possible to buy a new car at that price, you would have a stronger argument for claiming that you did not know of the mistake in price and if a valid contract existed, you would have an argument for enforcing the contract with the mistaken price.


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