A New York dealership must pay a customer $7,740 plus interest in a dispute over rescission of a trade-in and purchase agreement, an appeals court has ruled.
The Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court ordered Lewin Chevrolet-Geo-Oldsmobile in Cobleskill to make restitution to Sandra Bender, who had traded in a 1989 Chevrolet Blazer for a used 1992 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme in June 1993.
The day after the transaction, Bender returned the Oldsmobile and keys to Lewin, demanding her Blazer back.
However, the dealership had sold the Blazer, so Bender stopped making payments on the Oldsmobile's retail installment contract.
The bank repossessed the car and then sold it back to Lewin, which resold it.
Lewin sued Bender to force her to surrender the title to the Blazer.
She countersued for fraud, alleging the dealership had made misrepresentations about the Oldsmobile's price and financing, according to Bender's lawyer, Marvin Parshall Jr. of Worcester.
The dealership denied any wrongdoing.
After two trials, Bender won a $10,000 judgment based on the trade-in credit for the Blazer.
The appeals court upheld Lewin's liability, saying that without restitution, Lewin would be able to keep the proceeds of its sale of the Blazer while, in effect, retaining and then reselling the Oldsmobile.
'There is no evidence that title (to the Oldsmobile) was transferred from Lewin to Bender and then back to Lewin as a result of the alleged repossession,' the court said.
'The repossession apparently consisted of nothing more than Lewin's repayment of the amount it received from the bank on the contract.'
However, the court reduced the award to $7,740 to reflect the fact the dealership had paid off the balance on Bender's Blazer loan. It also awarded her $3,108 in interest.
The dealership is considering a further appeal, according to its lawyer, Edward Wildove of Cobleskill.
'We take the position there was a completed deal and she voluntarily stopped paying,' he said.
'The dealer did nothing wrong. She should suffer the loss.'