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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Florida
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    7

    Default Small Claims Case

    I have recently along with my wife have been named defendants in a civil small claims case. My wife is really worried about it. Neither one of us have ever been in a court room in our lives. Here is the issue. About 3 months ago, our car broke down. The cost of repair was outrageous and we decided at that point that we would be on the look out for another car. A person that I knew through my work told us that he had a van available for sell. We have three kids and were at the time very desperate for a car. We looked over the car and took a test drive and then stupidly signed a contract buying the van "as is". Regretably, we took the sellers word to heart and believed him when he said the van was in "good running order". We agreed to make payments to him and in exchange he would sign the title of the van to us. However, after making the less than 2 miles trip from his house to ours. The van severely overheated leaving us stranded on the side of the road. We eventually got the van towed to our house and realized that the radiator had several holes in it,along with the starter fixing to go out plus several other problems that the mechanic said probaly existed but he could not diagnose them all without tearing the van apart. The mechanic gave us an estimate for repair from about $750.00 to $1100.00. Which was way too costly for us. At that point I contacted the seller in an attempt to get him to lower the selling price. The seller basically said tough s**t, you bought it as is and your out of luck. I got angry with the seller about that and at that point he said he said 'you know what since you don't want to repair it, I'll take the van back because I have another buyer for it anyway." I agreed to that. We made an agreement then to return the van too him as soon as the title came in and we could legally transfer the van back to him. After the title came in and we contacted him he said to me "I don't want it back, I'm taking you to court." Next thing I know were getting served. He is asking for $1000.00 that we orginally agreed on the written contract plus court costs. Do I have any recourse? We still have the van and we haven't been able to utilize it. It has been in our yard since. We thought he was going to take it back and we still are willing to give it back..but he don't want the van he wants the money>>>Any advice on what to do???

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Default Van title

    Was the van actually titled over to you? Did you sign a written agreement?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    7

    Default

    Yes the van is titled to us. We did have an written agreement to make payments to him and in turn he transferred the title to us. The problem is the contract did say "as is"but the seller did not disclose the problems with it to us and he knew about them. The van is in our name.

  4. #4
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    Sep 2005
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    Default

    Quote Quoting emerson
    The problem is the contract did say "as is"but the seller did not disclose the problems with it to us and he knew about them.
    "As is" means you take responsibility for the van, with no express or implied warranties. If the seller actively misrepresented the condition of the van, consider filing a countersuit for fraud.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    7

    Default

    Okay..that is the next step I guess..how do I go about doing that? Could I bring the evidence of fraud with me to court or would it be wise to file a countersuit?

  6. #6
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    Sep 2005
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    Default

    A counterclaim would be heard at the same time as the small claims case. You should check with your local court to see if they have a brochure on how to litigate a small claims case. (Here's some information.)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    7

    Default

    I do have the information..but if I countersue him for fraud do I ask for a dollar amount? Do you think knowing what you do that it would be logical for us to settle the case with him or try to compromise? What is our chances of proving fraud? We have proof of all the problems and we also have a certified odometer reading now and it only shows 3.5 miles more than the actual odometer reading at the title change. I am leaning towards settling because my wife is 5 months pregnant and the stress of this is really getting to her although I feel like we shouldn't. Should I try to compromise with him?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Behind a Desk
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    Default

    Quote Quoting emerson
    I do have the information..but if I countersue him for fraud do I ask for a dollar amount?
    How much money have you paid him? How about claiming that amount and asking to undo ("rescind") the contract such that the van is titled back to him?

    Quote Quoting emerson
    Do you think knowing what you do that it would be logical for us to settle the case with him or try to compromise?
    If you want your case assessed for its viability, consult a local lawyer.

    Quote Quoting emerson
    What is our chances of proving fraud?
    I don't even know that any fraud occurred.

    Quote Quoting emerson
    We have proof of all the problems and we also have a certified odometer reading now and it only shows 3.5 miles more than the actual odometer reading at the title change.
    So... the odometer is accurate?

    Quote Quoting emerson
    Should I try to compromise with him?
    Ultimately that's your call to make.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    7

    Default

    How much money have you paid him? How about claiming that amount and asking to undo ("rescind") the contract such that the van is titled back to him?
    Actually that is what we agreed on initially and then he backed out of that deal.


    [

    So... the odometer is accurate?
    Yes the odometer seems accurate. We had to have the exact odometer reading on at the time of title change. The local police came and certified the odometer yesterday. Which was only 3.5 more than the title change odometer reading.

    We did consult a local lawyer and it said we had a good shot..but he said you know he is going to lie..so he said consider making him an offer..but not the $1000.00. Maybe half of that.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Florida
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    7

    Default

    Okay..I went to file a counterclaim in the case. I was told by the clerk that they were out of the forms and she was unsure when they would get them.. Of course I was furious..she told me to go see a lawyer or look online for it. I really can't afford an attorney and i have searched high and low on the internet for the form. Could anyone help me find the form. My time is running out to file. Any help please.

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