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Long story short: I bought a van through a buy-here pay-here. The engine locked up and the car place towed it to them to trade it in for a different vehicle, but I don't want to do anymore service with them. I don't have much money, but I am leery about trusting any other buy-here pay-here place, what are my options and/or your opinions? If the above description is enough information for you to reply please do, otherwise.. Here is the longer fuller story: I am paying for a 2002 Kia Sedona though a Buy-Here Pay-Here place (called E-Z Car Credit). I have 2,000 left to pay on it (would've been done paying it by the end of the year) and never missed one payment. Around mid-February the engine locked up. I informed E-Z Car and they towed it to their lot and told me they could treat it as a trade in and let me get into another vehicle. I was shown a 2001 Chrysler Town and Country. While I took it on a test drive, I took it to my mechanic to do a quick check over it (I failed to do that with the Kia before I bought it). The front heater wasn't working and there was a problem with the power-steering. I told them I'd take it if they'd fix those two things (shocks were a problem too but I told them I'd have my mechanic fix that). They told me no problem, and that I would hear from them by that Thursday. Thursday rolls around and I never heard from them. I call them Friday and they tell me they decided that morning that they are going to auction it off, but they have 2 other vehicles for me. I've not talked to them since then. Now I am not pleased with this. I told them I took it to the mechanic, and we discussed what I would have them fix and my mechanic fix. Only valid reason I can see them for auctioning it off under me is if the vehicle had other problems (if so why not discuss it with me?) or they just didn't want to use their money to fix the heater and power-steering. Ever since the problem with the van arose I have heard many other people tell me that E-Z Car is NOT to be trusted. I have had some other problems with them before the engine locked (like finding out the hard way that my van had no spare tire). So, not only am I afraid to get another vehicle from them, I am leery about going to any other sort of buy-here pay-here in fear of paying up the rear to have a repeat. I don't have that much for income, and I can't borrow from the bank (no credit). I've been asking around work like crazy, looking on craigslist, the local paper, etc. but it looks like my best bet is to buy from a buy-here pay-here or wait a few months and go from there (which is hard to do cause the person I'm borrowing a vehicle from wants it back asap). Also, since the van is no longer working and is sitting at E-Z Car's lot, I didn't pay this last payment round. I know that if I keep avoiding payments it'll ruin my credit, but if I keep paying, there's no way I could save money in a quick-like fashion to get something else. Should I keep paying them till I find a different buy-here pay-here and go from there? Should I just keep paying and try and save money and get a vehicle from a private party? Someone told me I should buy a vehicle from an auction, is that a good idea? Any ideas or inputs? I have not enough money for any big down payments or anything. Thanks for reading, and thanks even more for replying.
I absolutely love Top Source. "Everyone's a victim! All dealers are scum! Run! Run!" - All of his/her banter about being "defrauded" is just that... nothing but banter. If you decide to try all of the tasks Top Source lays out, be prepared to waste a ton of time. Top Source has stated time and again that they pretty much spend their time suing folks for money. After all, "you will likely profit" according to them. Attorneys are TS's best friend. Love how Top Source vilifies a dealer which agrees to take in a vehicle and trade you into something that runs. Most would've told you (legally, as the law is on THEIR side) to "go fly a kite, it's your problem". You happened to find one of those BHPH dealers that actually is willing to work with you. No, Top Source, the dealer taking it back is NOT grounds to ask for a refund, and certainly not an admittance of anything. They took it back "on trade", but until a new agreement is signed, the original agreement is still enforced. Asker --- Here's the long-and-short of it: You signed a contract agreeing to pay an amount each month on a certain date. This is not contingent upon the vehicle's condition, nor upon your mood toward the dealer at the moment. If you decide to stop payment, the dealer can (and probably will, as BHPH dealers do) file a repossession against you and either charge you the full amount of the loan agreement or the difference between what they sold it for at auction and what you owed. This will depend upon the agreement that you signed. If you refuse to pay this, they can and will take you to court and possibly get garnishments against your wages/assets. This, too, will depend on what state you live in. And, know this... BHPH dealers are used to being taken to court, and know when and if they will win. They're pros at it. You're not. (I'm not defending them, as I've known some good ones and some horrible ones.) If they are willing to work with you, then that's the only real game you have. My answer is based upon legal fact, not opinion or copied/pasted websites from attorneys who want your money. I myself have been threatened by attorneys (usually junior-grade newbies like the ones Top Source calls... you know, the ones on TV and the backs of phone books) and have had them cowering once they found out I knew the law. The judge in each case always came back to the contract that was signed. That is what is enforceable.
Use the van as a trade, get the cheapest bomb you can and pay it off as fast as possible. Make the payments, then one day walk in with the pay-off and get a clear title. Do not drag this out making payments or you will be married to car payments the rest of your life. Immediately, save $1000 emergency fund that can be used for nothing but emergency, broken leg, broken windshield, blown tire, etc. The saving is sacred! And you are right in letting your mechanic look the car over, let the car lot know he will so they know not to waste your time with junk. After paying off the car, continue driving it until it dies while you keep saving as much as possible. Pay cash for your next bomber, and save for the one after that. Each time you get a car a little better and do not pay any interest to a bank, credit company, or car lot. Interest payments = prison. An intelligent person sees no logic in the act of paying interest on an asset that will only depreciate with time and use. We have been conditioned to stupidity, it is time to throw off the shackles of debt and own your paycheck!
El Grandes answer is 100% correct. He has FAR more patience than me. Ive had a few like top source threaten to sue me. I ENCOURAGED them to do so. They never did. The dealer would like to keep you in a car and continuing to pay. You need to try and get off that treadmill. Ask if they will forgive the loan in exchange for the car back. If so, save up & pay cash elsewhere. You never win at a bhph dealer.
Seems basically they agreed to take a defective vehicle back, so they should give you your money back. I'd call 10 lawyers in your area who practice consumer law and ask for advice over the phone. I've successfully represented myself as a plaintiff and defendant in a number of courts w/o a formal legal education and I always call lawyers as part of my prep. Most are very helpful. They also are looking at you as a potential client. Have all your documentation handy, like your contract. Ask about making payments on a vehicle they agreed to take back. Depending on your state laws and the contract you have, they may advise you to sue in Small Claims, or meet w/ the seller in person w/ a witness to negotiate a settlement. If you meet w/ them you can say something like, "I've gotten legal advice on this, and the simplest, least expensive way to fix it is you refund my money." You can also call the county and state consumer protect depts, and the state atty gen's consumer fraud dept. Never deal w/ BHPH again. I dont think auctions would be good for you unless you know someone you trust who buys thru them. Try for a private party deal, but be very skeptical. Ask if the seller has the title in their possession now, if their name's on it, and if the title is "clear," meaning the vehicle isnt Salvaged/Rebuilt, a Theft Recovery, or has any liens on it. When you call, ask them for the VIN, Vehicle pennsylvania Number, and search it online w/ two services like Carfax. CF is ok for a 3rd opinion but they settled a class action suit for being inaccurate. Try to have a good mechanic check it before buying. At some point before signing the Bill of Sale, which you must have, w/a private seller, be sure to pennsylvania them, preferrably w/ a current photo-ID driver's license. Make sure the signature matches the one on the title. As you'v found, the retail vehicle industry is riddled w/ fraud [and incompetence.] Your best defense is Knowledge, Cynicism & Relentlessness in getting justice if you get ripped off. If there's any way you can do w/o buying a vehicle until you have more money & knowledge, I'd do that. Get informed, be relentless and you'l likely profit. ====================== Dept of Justice’s Motor Vehicle Title Information System MV title laundering: “Subsequently, [vehicles declared lemons] were either retitled across state lines with apparently clean titles or were placed ‘in auction.’ “ Title check VIN Cloning. Low-level perps busted, crooked used-car dealers walk. “Recent Small Claims Filings & General News...” Some Automotive Small Claims Defendants: Audi, $3.5k warranty breach. EconoLube, $6k, negligent credit reporting. Percision (sic) Tune Auto Care, $15k, overcharge on repairs. Superb Auto Repair, $1.2k, shop damaged vehicle. Auto Professionals, Inc, $2.3k, warranty breach. Sangera GM dealer, $3k, fraud. Case evaluation, finding/hiringlawyers, ask a lawyer, search.
Follow the advise of Terrellf.
Go rob a bank, and then go buy a corvette or a dodge tomahawk