Used Automobile Buying Tips

questions & answers

Question: I found a car on craigslist and went to see the vehicle. The seller and I agreed on a price. I told him I would be receiving my refund check in one week and asked if I could hold the car with a $300.00 deposit. Unfortunately my refund check became offset and I will not be receiving any money. Now the seller does not want to pay me back the deposit. Is that legal?

Answer:

Any business transaction, such as the sale of a car, follows the rules in the sales contract. This contract can be written or verbal and should be agreed to before any money is exchanged. A deposit on a car could be non-refundable or refundable depending on the terms of the contract.

Disagreements about a contract for dollar amounts less than $2,500 can be settled in small claims court. The first step in process is to try and work out the problem before going to court. If you have been unable to do this you can find additional information about how to file a small claims action on the Maricopa Superior Court web page.

Filing an action with the court currently costs $38.00 with additional fees possible for service and associated filings.

If you do decide to file in small claims court you will need to prove the events happened as you described them. The court will listen to evidence presented by both sides, so you will want to determine how your evidence compares with the other party’s evidence.

Small claims court does not require a lawyer but you will need to appear before a judge and make your case. Weighing these costs against the amount you are seeking to recover is an important part of deciding if you should file or not.

 

QUESTIONS

  • I found a car on craigslist and went to see the vehicle. The seller and I agreed on a price. I told him I would be receiving my refund check in one week and asked if I could hold the car with a $300.00 deposit. Unfortunately my refund check became offset and I will not be receiving any money. Now the seller does not want to pay me back the deposit. Is that legal?

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  • State Bar of Arizona
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