Can a car dealership back out of an on-linevehicle sale after the deposit has been paid?

UPDATED: May 13, 2011

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UPDATED: May 13, 2011Fact Checked

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Can a car dealership back out of an on-linevehicle sale after the deposit has been paid?

I purchased a truck on eBay and immediately submitted the deposit as required. I sent a message to the dealership asking when I should arrive to pay the remaining balance and take possession of the vehicle. At this time, the seller (a large, franchised dealership) indicated that they did not wish to proceed with the sale because the price was lower than they had intended to sell the vehicle. They then refunded the deposit. It is my understanding that such a sale is a binding legal contract and enforceable? If it helps, the dealership is in TX and I am in KY.

Asked on May 13, 2011 under General Practice, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You are correct in that if there was an offer to sell you a truck for a certain amount and you accepted that offer as is (e.g. did not try to renogotiate the terms) and also honored all obligations of yours in a timely way (e.g. paid the deposit on time), then the seller should be obligated in turn. They cannot refuse to sell the truck because they hoped to get more money.

However, all that said, enforcing the agreement will take you suing them. Cross-state lawsuits can be tricky, inconvenient and expensive. Since you have your deposit back and all you lost was the opportunity to buy this truck at that price, unless you were saving several thousand dollars off what the truck would go for elsewhere, it's difficult to imagine it would be worth pursuing this matter.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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