How binding is a bill of sale?

UPDATED: Mar 14, 2013

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How binding is a bill of sale?

I just bought a car and the dealer on a piece of paper wrote down and added up all the fees associated with the purchase of the car and told me what the amount would be. Then he wrote up the bill of sale and put all the fees down and this time when he totalled it up it was about $300 short of what he told me before. I never noticed it and we went to the bank and got a loan and paid him and we signed all the other papers needed and he put the temp sticker on and we drove away. About 15 minutes later he called and told me about the mistake he made and wanted me to send him a check for the $300. Do I owe him the $300?

Asked on March 14, 2013 under Business Law, Utah


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The issue is the source of the discrepancy. He cannot add new fees to the sale price that he had not disclosed to you before, and he cannot unilaterally increase the amount of previously disclosed fees or costs; the agreement and agreed-upon price are binding as to those. But if the line item fees are properly disclosed but he committed a mathematical error in calculating them (e.g. when calculating tax, used the right rate, but multiplied incorrectly; or committed an arithmetic error in adding up the line items), that can be adjusted.  As long as all proper disclosures were made and a person could have determined from the paperwork what the price should have been, the law allows mathetical, typographic, etc. errors to be corrected.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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