My question involves a consumer law issue in the State of: Pennsylvania
On January 20th (2010), my fiance was in a minor auto accident resulting in about $800 damage to the front drivers side fender and headlight...and a small buckle on that side of the hood of his vehicle. At the time we didn't have the financial means to repair it. We went to a local dealer whom I have personally bought vehicles from before. He agreed to accept the damaged vehicle...as is...as a trade-in for another vehicle on his lot. Our vehicle had a blue-book value of a little over $3000. In exchange for our vehicle we asked for NO money...we only wanted a few payments toward the "new" vehicle in exchange for ours....which the dealer agreed to fully. We signed our vehicle over to him and drove of the lot in a vehicle off of his lot.
Fast forward 3 weeks......I get a phone call at home from this dealer saying that the vehicle we got from him was on his list to be repossessed. Why? Because he said we owe him $300. I told him, "but you said you would give us a few payments toward this SUV (a 2000 Bravada) in exchange for our car." He replied, "Oh no, honey! It don't work that way. The value of your vehicle went to taxes on the transfer. One of you needs to get over here and pay the $300 you owe me or it will be repossessed." WHAT?!? Maybe I'm wrong, but this sounds VERY shady to me. He also kept saying that we had paperwork yet to sign that wasn't done that day.
Fast forward to March 4th (2010).....Woke up that morning only to find our Bravada GONE. He sent his goons out @ 6am to take it back to the dealership. Throughout the day, we constantly tried to contact him but no one would answer the phone. We had a friend drive my fiance over there and they sat for two hours waiting for this guy. Only to find that he was at an auto auction.
So...I guess we signed over our car to him to RENT that Bravada from him for 5-6 weeks?!? I mean, yeah, we just GIVE AWAY our vehicles all the time!
This dealership is a kind of "Buy Here, Pay Here" type of place. The dealer is an old man who always forgets about things he says or does. Once I went there in the past (9yrs ago) with a vehicle I was buying off of him and I wanted to make my payment. He didn't even believe me that car was from his place. That same car..he wrote one date of sale on my papers and a different one on his. I had repo guys at my home THAT time because he was off on the sale date by 3 days.
What can we do to fix this situation? Is this even legal for him to do? Is it a form of theft or something?