What am I entitled to if the owner of a vehicle accepted a deposit from me but then sold itto someone else?

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What am I entitled to if the owner of a vehicle accepted a deposit from me but then sold itto someone else?

If I put a deposit down on a vehicle then the owner of the vehicle sold it to someone else; then the new owner puts it up for sale immediately at a higher price. What am I entitled to? Contract was not written up when deposit was given but text messages were sent back and forth discussing the deposit and owner said he would save the truck for me. Would this be considered a written contract? Owner admits full details of the deposit through text messages.

Asked on August 8, 2011 Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Contracts don't necessarily need to be written to be enforceable--verbal or oral agreements can be enforced, too, as long as there is evidence of the agreement between the parties and consideration (or something given or promised to secure performance). From what you write, you may have an enforceable contract. If the car had not been sold, you may have been able to force the sale of the vehicle; since it's already been sold to someone else, you can't do that (you have no rights against the  innocent third party purchaser), but may be able to sue for monetary compensation. For example, if it now costs  you more to get a like vehicle, you may be able to sue for the difference in price; you should also, of course, get the deposit back.


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