Legal Question in Consumer Law in Ohio

I purchased a car from a tow truck operator 100 miles away. There was no availability of a mechanic at 5 pm on FRI. I trusted him, paid $4000 & test drove it on my way back home. Our verbal agreement was that we could do the exchange [money<--> car], if the car was in the same condition when I got it from him. I sent him THAT NIGHT an SMS that "per our verbal agreement if the car did not meet mechanic's test, I would like the exchange of money vs car". (He did not object & wrote "Yeah, take it"). I told him the next day that the mechanic test showed multiple repairs ($1500 - $2000), and he quickly backed down, saying "You drove it 100 miles! Who knows what you did". The car belonged to his GF, he was the "agent".

Can I sue him and/or GF for breach of contract and fraud. Can I win?

Asked on 2/17/13, 2:34 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Eric Willison Law Office of Eric E. Willison
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In Ohio, if you can show that the tow truck driver regularly sells cars, then he may be a "supplier" under the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act. If the CSPA covers him, then you will have several causes of action against him based upon the conduct you describe above. But if he only rarely sells cars, then he may be seen as a private seller not covered under the act.

If he is a private seller, you may still have a case against him for fraud or breach of contract, but you won't get any attorneys fees for breach of contract. You might get them for fraud, but that is a harder case to prove because you have to prove intent under fraud (whereas under the CSPA you only have to prove what he did, not why he did it).

Lastly, there is an old saying among trial lawyers: "getting a judgment is easy, collecting on it is what is hard." If you pay an attorney $10,000 in legal bills, you might get a judgment that says that this guy owes you $50,000.00. But if he doesn't have two nickels to rub together, then you are just that much further into the financial hole.

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2/17/13, 6:20 pm

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