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  1. #1
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    Default A Wild Ride on the Sloop John D

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
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    ]We're not on "his side". We're simply explaining to you that "I regret that my husband bought a car," is not a basis to get out of the contract to buy the car and "We knowingly bought a car with a bad clutch" is not a basis to have the deal reversed merely because you don't want to pay for the repair.
    She never said the agreement was for a car with a bad clutch or that the contract specified the car would be sold "as is." Everyone is forgetting that one of the most important factors in forming a contract is a meeting of the minds. While the fact that you and your husband did not sign the written contract won't prevent the forming of a valid agreement once money has exchanged hands, a failure of the dealer to deliver an operable automobile could potentially render the agreement invalid.

    What this case will turn on is whether or not you and your husband assumed the risk that the car would be faulty. When negotiating the agreement, did the dealer say you were buying the car as is? Did he tell you or your husband that the car had a bad clutch? If these matters were not discussed, the court might find that you never assumed the risk that the car would be faulty, and as a result, the dealer would either need to fix the clutch or return your money for the car.

    It would also be helpful if you can show that you and your husband were trying to acquire a working automobile. If you said anything to the dealer during negotiations about using the car for commuting to work or driving your kids to school, it would help your case that you didn't assume the risk that something would be wrong with the car.

    You should take a look at the contract you received too. Even though you didn't sign it, a small claims judge would probably consider it as evidence of the terms of your eventual agreement. If it suggests that you and your husband were assuming the risk that the car would be inoperable, a judge might find that weighs heavily against you. If it suggests that the car would be in working order, then you have a decent chance of getting your money back.

  2. #2
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    Nov 2012
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    Default Re: We Bought a Car That Broke Down and the Seller Won't Give Us a Refund

    Quote Quoting mmmagique
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    There are no implied warrantees in Florida when buying from a private individual. There is no "case". The car was sold "as is".
    Even if there are no implied warranties in Florida, that wouldn't matter if there was an express warranty. Any suggestion during the transaction that the car would be in working order could negate the agreement. You can't tell a person you're selling them a car that runs great if it's broken down. It looks like everyone is advising the OP that she has no case without relying on any actual facts. This is a contract case. You couldn't possibly know the outcome without knowing the terms of the contract. As of right now, the OP hasn't revealed anything about the agreement except that a car was exchanged for cash. If the first line of that contract says, "This is a contract for a working automobile," then the OP not only has a case, but she has a decent chance of winning in small claims.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Quoting free9man
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    Not that they have a case but I imagine the clutch worked just fine when they bought it, unless they had it towed to their home after bought it. It would then be on them to prove the seller knew the clutch was bad when selling it.
    A car with a bad clutch will still drive for several miles. And they don't necessarily have to prove the seller knew the clutch was bad. It depends on the terms of the agreement. It's possible they could have a case as long as the car had a bad clutch when it was sold.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: We Bought a Car That Broke Down and the Seller Won't Give Us a Refund

    Quote Quoting Sloop John D
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    She never said the agreement was for a car with a bad clutch or that the contract specified the car would be sold "as is."
    Wrong. She said, "We never burned out the clutch! It was like that when we got the car!" If the clutch was bad when they bought the car, then they were buying a car with a bad clutch.

    I suspect that you're correct in a sense - not based upon what she actually stated - in that the claim, "We never burned out the clutch! It was like that when we got the car!", could be an attempt to get around the fact that the car worked when they bought it but developed clutch problems afterward. But if she bought a working car and it broke down afterward, that's not the seller's problem, and if the car could not be driven without a clutch repair and they bought it anyway they got the benefit of their bargain.
    Quote Quoting Sloop John D
    Everyone is forgetting that one of the most important factors in forming a contract is a meeting of the minds.
    How do you imagine that there was no "meeting of the minds" for this car sale? Since when can't you agree to purchase a car that needs repairs?
    Quote Quoting Sloop John D
    When negotiating the agreement, did the dealer say you were buying the car as is?
    Where are you getting "dealer" from? This is a private sale.
    Quote Quoting Sloop John D
    You should take a look at the contract you received too. Even though you didn't sign it, a small claims judge would probably consider it as evidence of the terms of your eventual agreement.
    If the proposed contract discloses problems with the vehicle, and was received by the buyer(s) before the sale, then that could be construed as notice of the problems with the vehicle. But a rejected contract would not be evidence of the terms of the actual contract.
    Quote Quoting Sloop John D
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    Even if there are no implied warranties in Florida, that wouldn't matter if there was an express warranty. Any suggestion during the transaction that the car would be in working order could negate the agreement. You can't tell a person you're selling them a car that runs great if it's broken down. It looks like everyone is advising the OP that she has no case without relying on any actual facts. This is a contract case. You couldn't possibly know the outcome without knowing the terms of the contract. As of right now, the OP hasn't revealed anything about the agreement except that a car was exchanged for cash. If the first line of that contract says, "This is a contract for a working automobile," then the OP not only has a case, but she has a decent chance of winning in small claims.
    No matter how you spin it, you're outside the realm of your competence to speak. There is no written contract. It's time for you to give up your conceit that the terms of a proposed contract, rejected by the parties, defines the oral agreement ultimately reached - it does not.

    Further, if the car didn't work when they bought it, they would have known that when they attempted to test drive it and it didn't work. Or, if they were foolish enough not to test drive or inspect a used vehicle, it would be broken down in front of the seller's home and not their own.
    Quote Quoting Sloop John D
    A car with a bad clutch will still drive for several miles.
    Then we're back to the car working when they bought it and breaking down afterward - not the seller's problem.
    Quote Quoting Sloop John D
    And they don't necessarily have to prove the seller knew the clutch was bad. It depends on the terms of the agreement.
    What term of the agreement do you believe would give the buyer recourse against the seller for the vehicle breaking down subsequent to the sale?

    If the buyer has representations from the seller that she is choosing not to disclose to us, that's on her. We only know what she tells us. There is no sensible reason, however, why she would withhold that information from us.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: We Bought a Car That Broke Down and the Seller Won't Give Us a Refund

    Is your job here to help give advice or to intentionally mislead people? Or perhaps you're just trying to save face because you picked that unfortunately ironic username.

    Either way, it's highly unethical to delete posts in order to mislead people into believing that you're giving correct legal advice. Your posts are filled with incorrect statements of the law and you're manipulating the forum in order to get other users to rely on that information.

  5. #5
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    May 2008
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    Default Re: We Bought a Car That Broke Down and the Seller Won't Give Us a Refund

    I'm posting because I don't want the poor woman wasting money she doesn't have to go to court. If she relies on your advice, she will spend the money to go to court, only to be told by the judge that she doesn't have a case, and furthermore, STILL OWES the defendant money for the car. : /

  6. #6
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    Default Re: We Bought a Car That Broke Down and the Seller Won't Give Us a Refund

    We're used to getting people here who make wild, unsupported, inaccurate statements of what they purport to be the law (e.g., "a written contract rejected by the parties can prove the terms of an oral agreement.") Case law? Statute? Any authority whatsoever? Nope. You challenge that type of person and all they do is pound the table.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: We Bought a Car That Broke Down and the Seller Won't Give Us a Refund

    A good piece of information needed: whose name is the title currently in? Was registrations transferred? If not, a court may say that a sale never took place as the seller has a responsibility to turn in registration/plates by a certain time period.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: We Bought a Car That Broke Down and the Seller Won't Give Us a Refund

    Quote Quoting Sloop John D
    View Post
    Is your job here to help give advice or to intentionally mislead people? Or perhaps you're just trying to save face because you picked that unfortunately ironic username.

    Either way, it's highly unethical to delete posts in order to mislead people into believing that you're giving correct legal advice. Your posts are filled with incorrect statements of the law and you're manipulating the forum in order to get other users to rely on that information.
    He has likely forgotten more about the law than you have or ever will know.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: We Bought a Car That Broke Down and the Seller Won't Give Us a Refund

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
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    We're used to getting people here who make wild, unsupported, inaccurate statements of what they purport to be the law (e.g., "a written contract rejected by the parties can prove the terms of an oral agreement.") Case law? Statute? Any authority whatsoever? Nope. You challenge that type of person and all they do is pound the table.
    Or they return with the case law to substantiate their "wild, unsupported, inaccurate statements."

    The specific issue that appears to be in contention is whether or not the unsigned written agreement may be used as evidence of the final contract. Mr. Knowitall is under the impression that the written contract may not be used to prove the terms of the agreement. This is incorrect. Not only may the written agreement be considered as evidence of the final agreement, but under current Florida law, there's a strong possibility that the court would find that the unsigned written agreement is the final agreement between the parties.

    Several rules would come into play in interpreting the agreement: The Parol Evidence Rule, Performance as Acceptance of a Contract, and UCC Article 2 section 207, the section which is often referred to as the "Battle of the Forms."

    I'll start with the Parol Evidence Rule. The parol evidence rule is followed by most states and essentially holds that, when the parties to a contract have formed a final agreement, outside evidence may not be used to interpret that agreement. In layman terms, once you form a binding contract, the only evidence that may be used to interpret the contract is the contract itself. Parties may not present testimony or other documents that were not included within the contract. This rule is codified in Florida Law under Florida Statutes section 672.202. Although the term "parol" literally refers to spoken evidence, the statute itself specifically restricts the introduction of any extrinsic evidence.

    It's possible this is the rule Mr. Knowitall was thinking of when he said that the unsigned written agreement could not be considered in the interpretation of the final agreement, but there's a major problem with this conclusion. The Parol Evidence rule only applies where the contract is written. This is expressly stated within section 672.202. In other words, if the contract is not written, then the court is not restricted in the evidence it may hear in interpreting the meaning of the agreement.

    It doesn't stop there. Not only is the Parol Evidence rule no bar to admittance of the written contract under these facts, but it may actually act as a bar to the oral agreement which Mr. Knowitall claims takes precedence over the unsigned written contract. Under the Parol Evidence rule, the courts will generally give more weight to written agreements and less weight to oral agreements. (See Schwartz V. Zaconick (1953) 68 So.2d 173.) Where there is a conflict in terms between a written instrument and a contemporaneously made oral agreement, the courts will only consider the written instrument. (Schwartz v. Zaconick, pg. 174-75.)

    This means that the court may not only consider the unsigned written contract, but they may find that the unsigned written contract is the final agreement between the parties. The parties will actually be barred under the Parol Evidence rule from introducing evidence that there was a separate oral agreement. The fact that the contract is unsigned will be of little consequence. It's well settled at common law that performance of an agreement can operate as an acceptance of that agreement. This rule is actually codified in Florida Statutes section 672.207.

    There are even further contractual issues under these facts which may cause the court to find that the unsigned written contract is the final agreement between the parties. Under Article 2, section 207 of the Uniform Commercial Code, once a party has accepted an offer to contract, any additional terms are considered proposals to the agreement and are not binding. This means that a court may find that the written contract for the sale of the car is the offer, and the OP's oral agreement and deliverance of cash acted as an acceptance to the terms of the written contract, and any changes that were mentioned in the oral agreement were merely proposals and not conclusive additions to the agreement. Section 207 of the Uniform Commercial Code has been codified in Florida Statutes section 672.207.

    That's a general run-down of the laws at issue here.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
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    How do you imagine that there was no "meeting of the minds" for this car sale? Since when can't you agree to purchase a car that needs repairs?
    You can absolutely agree to purchase a car that needs repairs. Alternatively, you can also agree to purchase a car that's in working condition. If the parties here agreed to purchase a working automobile, then it was a breach of the agreement for the seller to furnish a car that did not have a working clutch.

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
    View Post
    If the proposed contract discloses problems with the vehicle, and was received by the buyer(s) before the sale, then that could be construed as notice of the problems with the vehicle. But a rejected contract would not be evidence of the terms of the actual contract.
    That's an incorrect statement of the law. In any situation where the terms of a contract are unclear, a court may look beyond the four corners of the instrument for guidance. This would include taking testimony from the parties who negotiated the contract, taking testimony from individuals who were present during contract formation, and any documentary evidence which might help the court understand the nature of the agreement, including prior drafts.

    Because this case presents a situation where there was no written agreement, the court is going to be very interested to see what the terms were in the unsigned contract. In fact, there is a strong possibility that the court may find that, because the parties went through with the exchange without objecting to the written contract, that it represents a true memorial of their final agreement.

    Furthermore, the evidence rules are generally less stringent in small claims court, which is where this case is likely headed. It's almost a certainty that the small claims judge is not only going to accept the unsigned contract into evidence, but he'll probably consider it very heavily.

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
    View Post
    Further, if the car didn't work when they bought it, they would have known that when they attempted to test drive it and it didn't work. Or, if they were foolish enough not to test drive or inspect a used vehicle, it would be broken down in front of the seller's home and not their own.
    I would tell you what happens when you assume, but I wouldn't want you to delete my post again.

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
    View Post
    Then we're back to the car working when they bought it and breaking down afterward - not the seller's problem.

    What term of the agreement do you believe would give the buyer recourse against the seller for the vehicle breaking down subsequent to the sale?
    How about a term that says the seller guarantees the automobile and all parts for 60 days? I think that would probably do it.

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
    View Post
    If the buyer has representations from the seller that she is choosing not to disclose to us, that's on her. We only know what she tells us. There is no sensible reason, however, why she would withhold that information from us.
    In my experience, it's rare for a person to offer up all vital information without additional questioning. Not only do people forget to raise important facts, but often times they don't know which facts are important to their case. A fact that changes the outcome of the case could seem like a trivial detail to someone with no experience in legal affairs.

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
    View Post
    No matter how you spin it, you're outside the realm of your competence to speak. There is no written contract. It's time for you to give up your conceit that the terms of a proposed contract, rejected by the parties, defines the oral agreement ultimately reached - it does not.
    I don't have anything else to say about the competence level of the people responding to this thread. I'll let my post speak for itself.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: We Bought a Car That Broke Down and the Seller Won't Give Us a Refund

    Sloop dear, what makes you think that MKIA is deleting your posts?

    (And yes - your posts completely speak for themselves)

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