If a car dealership places an ad for a specific car and prices it in the ad, are they obligated to sell you that car for that price?

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If a car dealership places an ad for a specific car and prices it in the ad, are they obligated to sell you that car for that price?

I saw an ad in 2 different locations 1 being that dealership’s personal website. They priced a new car for $1,569. I called and inquired about the car. They informed me that I was incorrect and they would not sell me the car at that price.

Asked on June 27, 2011 under General Practice, Virginia

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

A valid contract requires an offer and acceptance.  The contract must identify the essential terms such as subject matter, time for performance, price, etc. signed by the parties to the contract.

The ad was a valid offer and when you accepted, a contract was formed.  However, there wasn't any valid contract in this case if you knew or should have known of the mistake in the price.  You would not be able to take advantage of it.  It would be difficult for you to prove that you did not know of the mistaken price since realistically no one would sell a new car for $1569.  It may have been a misprint in the ad and perhaps the price should have been $15690.   If this had been an old used car advertised at $1569, you would have a strong argument that you had a valid contract upon acceptance of the offer.


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