What to do if my 60 year old father was overcharged for a vehicle at a car dealership?

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What to do if my 60 year old father was overcharged for a vehicle at a car dealership?

My father recently bought a used car at a dealership. They negotiated a price of $15,900 minus $3,000 for another vehicle that he traded in for a total price of $12,900. When he signed the contract he did not realize they changed the price on the paperwork to $17,000. He went to a bank to see if they could refinance and the bank told him that they could not unless he pays $6,000 on it because he had been charged $6,000 over value. This is definitely not ethical, is it even legal?

Asked on September 30, 2011 under General Practice, Kentucky

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You say they "changed" the price on the paperwork; when did they do that?

If they changed it after your father had signed it, then they both breached the contract and very possibly committed a crime (a form of theft). Your father could either seek to get out of the contract (return car, get money back) or sue them to force them to sell him the car at the original price; and he might be able to press charges.

If they changed it prior to  him signing, the situation is more complicated and less favorable. If the price was right there on the contract and your father simply did  not review the contract but rather assumed he knew the price, he probably is obligated or bound to it--people have a legal obligation to review contracts before entering into them, and cannot get out of the contract by saying they did not read it.

On the other hand, if they changed it prior to signing, but kept him from realizing that--e.g. kept orally telling him what the price was, covered up the price on the contract, had  the price in some completely inobvious spot or expressed in a way it was difficult to tell what the price was, etc.--then  they might have committed fraud by misrepresenting the price to him; that might give him grounds to rescind (void) the contract.

So the exact circumstances are very important in this situation.


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