Legal Question in Consumer Law in Florida

I went into a used car dealership and found a car that i wanted. I didn't bring enough to put the 2500 down payment so they told me i could put 500 and they would hold the car. I signed but DID NOT DATE, a deposit slip stating that would be putting 500 down to hold Car X for 7 days. the deposit slip did say non-nonrefundable. Within 24 hours my mother notified them that with the interest, insurance and payments, I was biting off more than I could handle. They explained that me or my father should be calling as it was going to be in our names. While i was at work, my father tried to call they didn't answer twice, but when my father called from his work phone they answered immediately. They stated that they would not refund my money and he explained to them about being able to back out of any contract within 24 hours. (may or may not be true). After a long pause they said well well talk to our "investors" whatever that means and well get back to you. They didn't. We called another 5 times with no answer. the deposit slip is the only thing i signed. I did not date it next to my signature but it had a printed date on the top. they have approved me of being financed yet and again the only signing i did was on the deposit slip. My question is, do i have an legal ground for a refund?

Asked on 7/22/14, 4:41 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

William Gwaltney William W. Gwaltney, Attorneys at Law

First, there is no statutory 24 hour period that you can rescind a contract that applies to this situation. Second, if the deposit slip you signed said "NON-REFUNDABLE" then you probably have no legal ground to stand on. If it said "NON-NONREFUNDABLE" (as you typed) I do not know what that would mean or why it would be on a deposit slip.

If the down payment is $2,500 it does not seem unconscionable that a $500 payment would be non-refundable. The car dealership agreed to not sell the car to anyone for 7 days based on your payment of $500. They potentially lost the sale of the vehicle because you promised to come back and buy the car.

As for not dating your signature there is no requirement that a signature be dated in all circumstances. Banks transfer ownership of home loans valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars without dating signatures and the law has no problem with that. Besides, you mentioned that a date did appear on the document, and you are not disputing that you signed it on that date.

Unfortunately there may be nothing you can do other than appeal to the humanitarian side of the car dealer. With that said, I would not get your hopes up.

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Answered on 7/23/14, 5:19 am

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