deposit on a used car sale by private party.

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Latest post 07-12-2012 6:50 PM by NOJODAS. 15 replies.
  • 07-08-2012 8:20 PM

    • NOJODAS
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    deposit on a used car sale by private party.

    I accepted a $400 deposit for a car I am selling on Craigslist.  After much negotiation, and finally agreeing on a price, the lady comes back to my house with the deposit, and stated she will be returning the next day with the balance in cash. 
    The deposit receipt I signed and gave to her states "Deposit Receipt" on the top, and states the year, make, model and vin of the car and balance due on the sale at a later date.

    The buyer calls a day later and says her uncle will not help her out with the purchase and she cannot come up with the balance to purchase the car, and is now demanding her deposit back.  I have not given her an answer if I was going to give her deposit back yet.  Where do I stand.  I don't need her money, but I also think she needs to be taught a lesson here. 
    Should I give her all her deposit back or am I allowed to keep all (or part) of it?

  • 07-08-2012 8:23 PM In reply to

    • DPH
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    Re: deposit on a used car sale by private party.

    NOJODAS:
    The deposit receipt I signed and gave to her states "Deposit Receipt" on the top, and states the year, make, model and vin of the car and balance due on the sale at a later date.

    Does it say anything about the deposit be non-refundable?  If not, I think you know the answer.

    NOJODAS:
    Where do I stand.  I don't need her money, but I also think she needs to be taught a lesson here. 

    You don't need to teach her a lesson.  Give her the money back and move on with your life.  That's the right thing to do. 

    "Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience."  -  Mark Twain

     

  • 07-08-2012 8:27 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: deposit on a used car sale by private party.

    Laymans guess --you are not entitled to unjust enrichment---In the context of trying to mitigate damages I might relist it and when a follow up sale is concluded I'd return the net to her--and paper in advance that she has declined to buy as agreed--you don't want her to show of 3 days from now looking for "her" car. EG if it sells for $200 less, she gets only $200 back.



  • 07-08-2012 8:31 PM In reply to

    Re: deposit on a used car sale by private party.

    Not sure on the legals

    but I kind of think a deposit is a deposit and you could just keep it

    so long as there was no agreement otherwise

    However

    if I were you, I'd just give her the money back, and sell the car to someone else

    That's definitely NOT legal advise

    It's just that you can likely sell this car.  Why create a problem?  She/he can learn a lesson from someone else if that what you think they need.  I wouldn't waste my time if I were you.

    Good luck!

     

  • 07-08-2012 8:32 PM In reply to

    • NOJODAS
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    Re: deposit on a used car sale by private party.

    As I understand it as I've been reading A LOT on the subject now, a deposit is always "non-refundable" unless if it's stated otherwise in a clause of the contract.

     

    "the right thing to do"....I don't think so!   People should be held accountable for their own actions and stupidity, that's why there are soooo many stupid people today, letting them off the hook easy when they make a stupid mistake, ie: unwed mothers by welfare, large compensation for tripping in a store or spilling coffee on themselves, etc.

     

    I turned away many potential buyers because I had a legal obligation to hold the car for her.  If I had sold it to someone else, I would be in breach of contract.  She should be held responsible to not fulfilling her part of the agreement.  Otherwise, what is the purpose of the deposit????

     

     

  • 07-08-2012 8:36 PM In reply to

    Re: deposit on a used car sale by private party.

    I agree with you!

    Just decide if it's worth the effort that's all

    Good luck!

     

  • 07-08-2012 8:37 PM In reply to

    • NOJODAS
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    Re: deposit on a used car sale by private party.

    Yes, I thought about just letting her know that I will return her deposit when I resell her car; and her deposit will depend on the net proceeds. 

    I don't think people should just gladly put down deposits without having the moral obligation to go through with the contract that they signed.

  • 07-08-2012 8:42 PM In reply to

    • NOJODAS
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    Re: deposit on a used car sale by private party.

    I don't think it's unjust enrichment, she wasted a good part of my afternoon, and possibly ruined the sale to other prospect buyers when I informed them that it was sold.  Now I have to relist it, waste more time showing it, and she extended the sale possibly another week or two.   I like the idea of keeping part of it if it sells for less, then I would NOT be netting anything more, but it could cost her part or all of her deposit, lesson learned?

     

     

  • 07-08-2012 8:58 PM In reply to

    • DPH
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    Re: deposit on a used car sale by private party.

    NOJODAS:
    As I understand it as I've been reading A LOT on the subject now, a deposit is always "non-refundable" unless if it's stated otherwise in a clause of the contract.

    Have you been reading this in legal publications or in court proceedings?  If not, take that information with a grain of salt.  If you want to know if you personally can keep the deposit, then call a local attorney and get a paid legal opinion.  Anything else is worth what you're paying for it. 

    NOJODAS:
    People should be held accountable for their own actions and stupidity, that's why there are soooo many stupid people today, letting them off the hook easy when they make a stupid mistake, ie: unwed mothers by welfare, large compensation for tripping in a store or spilling coffee on themselves, etc

    Put the drama llama back in the paddock.  You're talking about someone who probably thought they had the money lined up from a relative and that person reneged or thought better of it.  That's not stupid.  Bad planning, perhaps, but not stupid.

    NOJODAS:
    I turned away many potential buyers because I had a legal obligation to hold the car for her
      

    If you turned away many potential buyers, then list it again and sell it to the first one that brings you cash.

    NOJODAS:
    Otherwise, what is the purpose of the deposit????

    Many times a deposit is used to guarantee the sale price.  Not saying that's the case, just that I have seen deposits used for that condition and not always to hold the vehicle.

     

    "Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience."  -  Mark Twain

     

  • 07-09-2012 3:03 PM In reply to

    Re: deposit on a used car sale by private party.

    I cannot fathom why you would enter into a transaction based on this arrangement vs. cash for car.  Don't rely on a stranger's opinion about whether this "receipt" acts as a contract simply based on what vague details you posted about what is written on it.  You're free to take the position that she agreed to buy a car and that if she doesn't cough up the rest of the dough by X she'll be in breach, and that you believe your damages as a result amount to at least the amount of the deposit.  (I wouldn't, however, simply presume that your damages are X.) 

    If you think she needs to be taught a lesson, it's unclear why you're not objective about what lesson you need to learn as well (you chose an utterly bizarre manner in which to sell the car).

  • 07-09-2012 3:06 PM In reply to

    Re: deposit on a used car sale by private party.

    "I turned away many potential buyers because I had a legal obligation to hold the car for her."

    If you had "many potential buyers" who supposedly wanted to buy the car from you, why would you choose the person who couldn't actually buy and pay for it same day?  If she decides to sue you, be prepared to come up with some evidence beyond your word that you actually turned away willing buyers (vs. folks who simply expressed an interest to come look at it perhaps).

  • 07-09-2012 5:44 PM In reply to

    Re: deposit on a used car sale by private party.

    What "should" you do can be interpreted to be a very different question than what is the outcome that is dictated by the general law of contracts.

    The ultimate question a court would want answered is what was the parties' mutual intent regarding the deposit.  In other words, what did the two of you specifically agree with respect to the deposit?  Your posts suggest that there may have been no mutual agreement -- i.e., that the buyer's intent was that the deposit would be refundable and your intent was that it would not be.  If there was no mutual intent, then there was no contract as it related to the deposit.  You seem to be interpreting that to mean that you get a windfall, but that's not legally accurate.

    It would appear that you did have a contract the terms of which were that you would sell the car to the buyer for $X.  The buyer has now breached that contract, so the question becomes what your remedies are.

    As an initial matter, the Uniform Commercial Code (some version of which has been adopted in every state except Louisiana) requires that contracts for the sale of goods in excess of a certain amount must be evidenced by a sufficient writing in order to be enforceable.  The "certain amount" may vary between $500-5,000 depending on the specifics of your state's laws.  We'll assume for the moment that this requirement is satisfied, but that may not be the case.

    When a buyer breaches a contract for the sale of goods, the seller has two options:  (1) sue for the difference between the contract price and the fair market value of the goods; or (2) sell the item to someone else and sue for the difference between the actual sale price and the contract price.  In either case, the seller may also be entitled to certain costs associated with the transaction(s).  Obviously, if you can sell the care to someone else for the same price by using the same free ad service, you have suffered no damages, in which case, you would be required to return the entire $400.

    Be aware that your notion of teaching this person a lesson works both ways.  You were just as "negligent" here (among other things by failing to reach a mutual agreement regarding the deposit and failing to document the transaction properly), so why shouldn't you be taught a lesson?  In any event, that is a very juvenile mindset.  Similarly, the suggestion of someone else that returning the money is "the right thing to do" ignores the possibility that you may have made a really good deal with this buyer that you might not be able to make with another buyer and, therefore, may actually be entitled to some real damages here.

  • 07-12-2012 5:14 PM In reply to

    • NOJODAS
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    Re: deposit on a used car sale by private party.

    Well...I contacted the wishi-washi lady and told her to come over and pick up her deposit in the form of a cashier's check ( I wanted to make sure I had proof that I gave the deposit back to her).  I wrote on the check what it was for.  I also made it very very clear to her that I was giving her a gift, and to make sure not to drop a deposit on anything, unless she was ready to forfeit ALL of it, if she did not go through with the purchase for whatever excuse, on whatever the item was.

    I am still in the firm belief that people should be accountable for their actions, although it seems to be an uncommon concensus, judging by the responses I received.  I really thought most responses would agree with me, regardless of what our "stupid" laws say.  I also believe that there is way too much goverment intervention in our lives; the purpose of goverment is to protect consumers, but it has gone too far, to the point where stupid people are rewarded for their mistakes.

     

     

  • 07-12-2012 5:56 PM In reply to

    Re: deposit on a used car sale by private party.

    NOJODAS:

    I am still in the firm belief that people should be accountable for their actions,

      I also believe that there is way too much goverment intervention in our lives; the purpose of goverment is to protect consumers, but it has gone too far, to the point where stupid people are rewarded for their mistakes.

    I"m glad you gave her the money back.  She or her friends or relatives could have viewed things differently from you (like most of us here do) and could have wanted to teach YOU a lesson.  Government not involved.  You may have wished you would have just given her the $$$ back in the end.

     

  • 07-12-2012 6:46 PM In reply to

    • NOJODAS
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    Re: deposit on a used car sale by private party.

    If you are referring to her teaching me a lesson by having any of her friends coming over with threats or actually doing things like breaking a window, etc... then I would definitely get the authorities involved where she would be serving jail time, and her friend would be spending time in the ER (by my acts of self defense). 

     

     

     

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