Buyer Nightmare. Just found out bad news!

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by Valente, Feb 28, 2018.

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  1. Valente

    Valente Active Member

    I bought my Clarity on Jan 1 from Unicars Honda in Indio, CA. I wanted the $7500 Federal rebate to apply to my 2018 taxes. The transaction went I thought. When I went into the finance office to sign the papers the finance guy told me there would be TWO CONTRACTS - one for Dec 31, 2017 and one for Jan 1, 2018. He said "Don't worry. The 2017 contract is for us to pad our end of year sales quota." He had me sign both and kept saying, "Don't worry. This is all legit. We do it all the time. You will get your contract as though it was purchased Jan 1, 2018." So I did get my contract which was dated 1/01/2018. I finally got my DMV registration in the mail and it stated that I bought the car Dec 2017. WTF? I asked my accountant if I can apply this towards my $7500 fed rebate 2018 taxes. NOPE! It has to be applied to my 2017 taxes. OH NO! I already have tons of deductions for 2017. That was why I specifically purchased it Jan 1, 2018. I went to the dealership and they said they made a mistake and sent in the wrong info to the DMV and there's no way they can change it. (My guess is it would probably reveal that they padded their sales quota illegally.) My accountant said if he inputs the VIN number for the $7500 credit, it will show the car was sold 2017. WTF? I basically lost the $7500. I talked to the manager and he said there was nothing they can do and I should just apply it towards 2017! OMG! So now, I am suing them in small claims court. Thankfully, I have my original contract that show I purchased 1/01/2018 and the DMV reg that show 2017. All the other paperwork they gave me showed I purchased 2017! I am so afraid of the lies this dealership is gonna tell the court so they don't have to cough up $7500. If there are any lawyers out there I could sure use some advice. Thanks everyone. I am so stressed out. I will never buy another car as long as I live.
    GTO 409 likes this.
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  3. Kendalf

    Kendalf Active Member

    Oh wow, that is indeed a nightmare. But it seems like you have the law on your side. It seems like the dealer has engaged in the illegal practice of "backdating" a contract. Here's one article I just read about this. Given how much of a material damage this causes you, I think you should certainly consult an attorney that specializes in these kinds of cases. There seem to be several sites dealing specifically with backdated contracts.
  4. Valente

    Valente Active Member

    Thank you so much for posting this. It makes me feel somewhat better. I never heard of backdating. I think the dealer may know that if this goes to court it will reveal that the dealer "backdated" the contract to boost their end of month sales quota which is illegal. Hopefully, the dealership lawyer will advise them to just pay the $7500. I did speak to an attorney friend who is not that familiar with the situation because he deals with other types of law but he said since it involves less than $10,000 to go to small claims court. If they are facing the possibility of having to pay my lawyer fees as well as $7500 it could amount to well over $10,000. The problem with small claims court, if I sue and lose, I cannot sue again. Thanks again. Appreciate it.
  5. Arty_Vandelay

    Arty_Vandelay New Member

    FYI there is typically a mechanism to appeal small claims decisions. In NY for example you file the appeal in State Supreme Court.
  6. ManKo

    ManKo Member

    I would advise you go into court with your 2017 taxes filed so you can show how much this is costing you. Will you get any of the $7,500 back? Or is your tax liability for 2017 already at $0?
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  8. Kendalf

    Kendalf Active Member

    I found a group that purportedly specializes in these kind of auto dealer fraud cases. Note that I have zero knowledge of this group other than it was one of the higher search results in Google for "car dealer backdating contract" so caveat emptor. But the site does say that they offer free over the phone counsel for this kind of case. Here's the link:

    Most cases of backdating that are referenced involve lease contracts and relatively minor amounts due to differences in lease payments. This may be one of the first that involves the federal tax credit, but since the amount is so large, finding someone who is more of a specialist in this area would probably be of benefit.
  9. dstrauss

    dstrauss Well-Known Member

    Check out the California Attorney General site about consumer fraud, particularly the lawyer referral service number listed on the page. You need legal and accounting advice ASAP because if you file your 2017 return and claim the credit, you may have not proven your damages but in fact closed the door with both the IRS and courts on your claim against the dealership.

    This may be more than just a backdating claim before this is over.
  10. Valente

    Valente Active Member

    I own a small business and with my yearly deductions my tax liability is usually very low, as little as $150 owed in taxes. However, for 2018 I don't foresee any large business deductions. That's why I wanted to apply the $7500 credit towards this year's taxes.
  11. Valente

    Valente Active Member

    I will not claim the deduction for 2017. I already have plenty of business deductions to put me at almost zero tax liability. It would be like throwing the $7500 out the door.
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  13. LAF

    LAF Active Member

  14. Kendalf

    Kendalf Active Member

    I don't think you fully understand the OPs situation. That's what he intended to do, but the dealer illegally reported the car as being sold in 2017, so that the IRS will only allow OP to file for the credit for the 2017 tax year. But he already has little tax liability remaining for the 2017 tax year so he would not get any of that $7500 credit.

    And please be sure to turn off caps lock when you post! More than half of your posts have been all caps.
  15. ab13

    ab13 Active Member

    You should see if you have any communications in phone, email, txt, etc... That indicate when you are picking up the vehicle to take ownership. If you have one then it's time stamped. As I understand, phone communications are valid legal evidence.
  16. Valente

    Valente Active Member

    I sought the advice of 2 attorneys. Both said I'm basically screwed because the $7500 is a tax credit and not a rebate. WTF? I just had my 2017 taxes done and with all my business deductions I am at zero liability. (I purchased a huge amount of tech equipment last year) I asked my accountant to estimate what I would owe next year without any business deductions. He said I would owe apprx $7,000. I sorta suspected this already when I thought about purchasing the vehicle. That was my main reason for buying the car Jan 1st. I will not have any huge business deductions this year. I am still going to pursue my small claims against the dealership. I will attempt to show the judge my taxes for this year and estimated taxes without business deductions for next year. It seems as though these cars dealers can get away with just about anything. It was also very difficult to find an "AUTO FRAUD" attorney, maybe because they know car dealers really cover their asses. So now, I know I will have to come up with about $7000 next year. The purchase of the Clarity from UNICARS Honda was a huge mistake. Looking back, all the paperwork was in order and everyone was so nice. But it was the slimey backdated contract that killed me. BUYER BEWARE!
  17. Kendalf

    Kendalf Active Member

    Showing your tax situation is relevant more for the damages portion of your case, but what needs to be established first is that the dealer did something illegal in writing up two contracts with different dates. The advice from those 2 attorneys is irrelevant since they seem to be accepting the dealer's claim that the car was "sold" in 2017, whereas what is at issue is that you purchased the vehicle on 1/1/2018 (and you seem to have the signed contract to prove this) whereas the dealer registered the vehicle as being sold on 2017.

    Have you tried calling the company at the link I posted earlier that does seem to deal specifically with dealer auto fraud?
    GTO 409 likes this.
  18. loomis2

    loomis2 Well-Known Member

    I am not one to comment on legal issues but this all looks good for your side of the argument. You definitely have proof you bought the car on January 1, 2018 and you definitely have a good reason to have done so. Good luck!
    Louis Nisenbaum and Kendalf like this.
  19. Valente

    Valente Active Member

    Yes. I did call them The number is no longer in service. But a big thanks anyway. Appreciate it. Oh and I do have the original and signed slip that says I took possession of the car on Jan 1st. I doubt it will do any good.
  20. Valente

    Valente Active Member

    Thanks. What is weird, some of my paperwork is dated 12/31/2017 and some dated 01/01/2018. Thankfully the original contract and date I took possession is dated 1/1/2018. But both attorneys saw all my paperwork and said it doesn't matter. The $7500 is not real money. It's a credit. If it were a rebate, that would be in my favor. GO FIGURE!
  21. ab13

    ab13 Active Member

    This is a main website for legal related articles and lawyer directory, perhaps it may help.
  22. marshallwa

    marshallwa New Member

    If the attorneys say you don't have a case, then I would get a second tax opinion from an enrolled agent. Perhaps having a CPA who does taxes or enrolled agent write a simple letter to the IRS will get this fixed for you.
    Louis Nisenbaum likes this.
  23. Valente

    Valente Active Member

    Actually, TWO different attorneys that specialize in auto fraud told me the same thing. There is a difference between a federal tax credit and a rebate. That is the issue. They keep telling me a "credit" is not real money. sure is when it comes out of my bank account!! My accountant thinks I have a good case but wasn't sure. Last thing I want to do is get the IRS involved. They're as bad as car dealers.

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