Buying used cars from out of state

tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059
So you've found that great car but it's across state lines. How do you get it home? Need a temporary license? Will your current insurance cover the drive home? Discuss these issues here!

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Comments

  • sativosativo Member Posts: 17
    This guy had a car up for auction on ebay with an option to make him an offer. I made him an offer of 15k "out of the door" including delivery from missouri to arizona.

    He then demanded the entire 15k!

    I'm under the impression that I am liable to pay the sales tax in Arizona... so I told him I will calculate the total amount less sales tax, title, license, doc fees, etc -- in other words: "15k out of the door" and pay him that amount.

    He said that tax isn't his problem and that he wants 15k. That the term "out of the door" doesn't account for any taxes I will have to pay?!

    He also claims that I am legally bound to the contract offer and have to pay him 15k for the car?

    Is this correct? I made the online counter offer to his ebay listing with the explicit term of 15k "out of the door." Am I nuts or isn't that understood to mean total cost of transferring ownership (including tax, title, license, etc.)??

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Sativo
  • tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059
    You'll need to read the fine print at ebay.com for "gotchas" but what you did appears more like a "proposal" than an offer and a proposal is not an agreement.

    tidester, host
  • sativosativo Member Posts: 17
    What's the difference between a proposal and an offer?

    As I understand it, his post on ebay was an invitation to make an offer (as is most any auction). With the "make offer" option that let me propose an offer amount, I made a "counter offer." Once that counter offer is made, I become the offerer and he becomes the offeree and can choose to accept or reject my offer.

    He chose to accept it.

    So as far as requirements for making an offer go, I think that is a non-issue.

    What's at issue here is the interpretation of the terms "out of the door." In my views, when a buyer buys a car "out of the door" the seller is given a final price that covers all other expenses involved in transfer of ownership (including tax, etc.).

    But I'm not sure if my understanding of "out of the door" is legally accurate.

    Anyone care to weigh in on this issue?

    Sativo
  • sativosativo Member Posts: 17
    FYI: The seller seemed fairly uncooperative. The guy's first email to me was on the order of "send the deposit or I'll leave negative feedback."

    When I responded to his email, he sent me his number and we ended up on the phone. I explained that "out of the door" is conventional language that means I pay one total price that covers all expenses. And let's be serious here.. he's a dealer, he knows what I meant. But he made a play for how Missouri is different than AZ, etc. Toward the end of the conversation I just said, "look, I think you misunderstood. Let's just chalk it up to a learning experience and go our separate ways. No harm done." To my surprise, he threatened to sue if I don't pay him 15k for the car?!

    We'll see what happens... but it sure would be nice to hear from anyone else who had the OTD terms go strange on them like this.
  • pch101pch101 Member Posts: 582
    Again, he has nothing to sue you for, because he hasn't suffered any damages, aside perhaps for any fees owed to Ebay. No damages = no case.
  • sativosativo Member Posts: 17
    That's true. So you think no one is on the hook for anything? Isn't this a unilateral contract?
  • pch101pch101 Member Posts: 582
    You could demand "specific performance". Make a demand that your "out the door" offer, which was accepted, be honored. File a complaint with Ebay that the seller is refusing to deliver the merchandise at the agreed-upon price, and indicate that you expect timely delivery or will forward this to your attorney, to whatever agency regulates dealers in his state, and the manufacturer, plus that you will provide negative feedback for the last-minute bait-and-switch.

    With guys like this, fight fire with a bigger fire. Aim for the jugular, and don't let go!
  • pch101pch101 Member Posts: 582
    It's one thing to be legally right, it's another to earn anything from it.

    For the sake of argument, let's say that he is 100% right on the law, and that you are wrong. Next legal question: What is that worth?

    He's a dealer, so he's in the practice of carrying inventory, marketing product and otherwise selling cars. It's not as if he can claim thousands of dollars in damages for something that he can simply sell to someone else.

    The most he can quantify in damages is whatever he has to pay to Ebay for this, and possibly some minor other amounts. Is he going to drive from MO to AZ to sue you in small claims court over whatever that amount is? (I assume it's a nominal amount, such as $100-200, but again, I've never used Ebay.)
  • sativosativo Member Posts: 17
    Thanks pch101. Those were my thoughts exactly. I was willing to let this go but he insisted to be a jerk. So I'm contacting my legal service tomorrow to get more details.

    BTW.. this was for a '05 Jeep Grand Cherokee w/35k miles. My offer to him was 15k out the door and deliver to my house. That's not too shabby ;-)
  • pch101pch101 Member Posts: 582
    If you want the car, go with the approach in #11. Fire the first shots -- go to Ebay to complain, and give him negative reputation points, or whatever they're called, for not doing what he was supposed to. Take the aggressive posture, and force him to either put up (deliver the car to you at your OTD price) or shut up.

    To clarify an earlier point, going to a lawyer won't probably help you, either. You can certainly threaten that you will go to one, but at the end of the day, you don't have much to sue him for, either. (You've really lost nothing so far.) But what you can do is to beat your chest and act like you mean it, just to get the jerk to back down. The dealer is just being a bully, and we all know from the schoolyard that the best way to deal with a bully offering idle threats is to stand up to him until he backs down.

    Good luck, whatever you do.
  • sativosativo Member Posts: 17
    So I just thought some more about your point regarding damages. Are you sure damages are what contract law is about? I guess that makes sense but doesn't contract law also address if a contract can be rescinded or not? In other words... isn't the issue here who is on the hook to follow through with the contract?
  • pch101pch101 Member Posts: 582
    Damages are important because those are the basis upon which a court bases its awards.

    There is a lot of hype in the press about "punitive damages" and such, but in reality, these are unusual. In these sorts of contract disputes, the most likely judgment amount is going to be based upon actual costs and losses.

    If the dealer hasn't lost anything, then he has no damages to demand from you. You never took delivery of the product, no documents were signed and no cash has been exchanged.

    If the dealer doesn't owe Ebay any money -- based upon this link to Ebay, it doesn't look like that the dealer owes anything for a high bid that falls out -- then he has lost nothing at all but for a couple of days' worth of his time, which is really not worth anything at all to a court. I'm not a lawyer, but I'd bet that to a court, this is a non-issue.
  • tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059
    What's the difference between a proposal and an offer?

    I thought of it as a "proposal" based on the assumption that the ebay posting did not use the term "OTD" but you proposed that in your bid. You have since mentioned that you discussed the matter by phone with the seller and he apparently rejected your OTD proposal. That should be the end of it, IMO.

    tidester, host
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Member Posts: 2,882
    One of the most important aspects of contract law, is that there was a "meeting of the minds". In other words, did both buyer and seller fully understand all aspects of the contract. There's always two sides to every story, but in the case here, it's pretty clear, there never was an understanding what the term "OTD" meant. For vague issues like this, a judge will always rule against the person who wrote the contract, and in this case that would be the seller. And especially since he's a dealer, he should have known and defined what "OTD" meant as soon as it was brought up.

    But as someone has already stated, there really aren't any real damages, so it would never get that far. The worst that could happen is both buyer and seller post negative feedback against each other. That always hurts a seller more. I agree with the others, go on the offensive.

    I don't bother with ebay any more, it's slowly deteriorated down to a bunch of slime ball buyers and sellers. I've been with ebay and paypal pretty much since they started and I just went through an ugly case with a buyer who bought a car stereo and then lied to paypal about it's condition. After showing paypal proof he lied, think paypal stuck up for me? Ha. They rule against the party they can recover from easier. I learned a whole lot about them. Email me if anyone wants the details.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Member Posts: 26,440
    Ebay talks big but does nothing to control slimey sellers. I bought a $10 item with $10 shipping handling. I didn't read carefully the few complaints about delivery and follow through from the seller (who was on his third business name associated with EBAy). He didn't even follow through until PayPal complaint was filed and I was clearly going to refuse credit card payment to PayPal.

    Ebay and PayPal are two different parts. If you can get EBay to police its sellers show me. That's their money makers. If they censor a seller, they lose commissions or charges from the seller.

    In the case of the car, PayPal probably hadn't been used so it's all EBay.

    Translated, I'd had good luck through Ebay on 3-4 earlier purchases. But I'm done because EBay has no real teeth to help buyer and they have no motivation.

    I've had great success with Amazon buying things I usually would search EBay to buy. Quick ship; seller emails, no problems. But I don't Amazon handles cars :blush:

    In this case buyer can complain but I'll bet EBay doesn't stop the seller. They'll be on there selling forever. Or change their name.

    2014 Malibu 2LT, 2015 Cruze 2LT,

  • qbrozenqbrozen Member Posts: 31,022
    Here's my take, and its a bit different, i think ...

    OTD literally means "out the door." That means everything it takes to get you out the door of the dealership with your car. Since you don't live in the seller's state and the seller won't be collecting taxes on your behalf, OTD from his dealership does NOT include tax.

    So, in my view, the mistake was made on the buyer's part in not understanding how taxes work. And, as we all know, ignorance of the law is no excuse. So I rule that the buyer owes the seller $15k to get the car, exclusive of whatever extra he has to pay to his state of residence. ;b

    '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '13 Fiat 500c, '21 WRX, '20 S90 T6, '22 4xE. 62-car history and counting! MB Sprinter and '92 Nissan Gloria on the way!

  • sativosativo Member Posts: 17
    Obviously a contentious issue. I think this has been settled by the contract law principles of "meeting of the minds." If there was any question, both parties should have discussed.

    This was a dealer and he should known better than to get into a contract that uses conventional terminally typically meaning "all cost to the buyer." We'll see how it goes, but obviously dealers are going to side with the dealer on this one and buyers are going to side with the buyer.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Member Posts: 31,022
    obviously dealers are going to side with the dealer on this one and buyers are going to side with the buyer

    Since I'm not a dealer, it may not be quite so obvious who will side with whom.

    '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '13 Fiat 500c, '21 WRX, '20 S90 T6, '22 4xE. 62-car history and counting! MB Sprinter and '92 Nissan Gloria on the way!

  • sativosativo Member Posts: 17
    So as a buyer yourself, you're saying that you honestly think the term "out of the door" means the buyer pays tax, title, etc?
  • british_roverbritish_rover Member Posts: 8,502
    Unless the dealer is taking of the registration for you in an out of state purchase then OTD means just the price of the car.

    I sell a lot of cars to out of state buyers and if there is a loan invovled then we must take care of the registration. It is our contractual obligation to the bank. If it is just a pure cash deal then the buyer can take care of the registration if they want but we usually do that for them as well.
  • sativosativo Member Posts: 17
    Do you have a legal source to support your claim of what OTD means in this context?
  • british_roverbritish_rover Member Posts: 8,502
    No, just a decade in the car business.

    If you are buying out of state and the dealership is not taking care of the registration for you then out the door price is just the price of the car and whatever accesories or warranties are installed onto it.
  • sativosativo Member Posts: 17
    It seems that this issue has boiled down to one of legal interpretation and how contract law would handle resolve it.

    In your decade of experience, are you saying you've actually been to court and based an argument on precisely this interpretation of OTD and won?
  • qbrozenqbrozen Member Posts: 31,022
    So as a buyer yourself, you're saying that you honestly think the term "out of the door" means the buyer pays tax, title, etc?

    As I stated, OTD means what it takes to get "out the door" of the dealership. There is no secret meaning here. Its extremely literal.

    If I were to do an OTD deal with a dealer out of my home state, then, yes, this does NOT include tax or registration.

    '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '13 Fiat 500c, '21 WRX, '20 S90 T6, '22 4xE. 62-car history and counting! MB Sprinter and '92 Nissan Gloria on the way!

  • sativosativo Member Posts: 17
    Okay, you didn't answer my last question, but thanks.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Member Posts: 2,918
    After reading this thread (another reason not to buy a car on Ebay), the best I can determine is sativo you should never use terms like OTD (out the door) during transactions even if it is a dealership. If you re-read post number 4, I think that will get you headed in the right direction. there is contract law and then there is Ebay law. You need to get up to speed on what the expectations are when you "make an offer" on E-bay. Also you should re-read his advertisement to see what was he responsible for with the sale of this vehicle.

    The fact that you both could not come up with an agreeable price, there shoudl be no problem walking away from the deal. he can sue if he likes. Anyone can sue anyone for anything. he can give you negative marks. Oh well. It comes down to you misued the term OTD and you both could not agree on a price. No big deal.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Member Posts: 31,022
    sure i did. You asked me if I honestly think OTD means the buyer pays taxes, etc.

    Read my last line. IF buying out of state, OTD does NOT include those charges, so you must pay those after the fact. If buying in your state, OTD does include those charges. In both cases, that's what it takes to get the car OTD. If I buy in my home state, I can't get OTD without paying taxes. If I buy in another state, I can.

    Am I really being that obtuse?? I'm not sure I can make it any simpler.

    '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '13 Fiat 500c, '21 WRX, '20 S90 T6, '22 4xE. 62-car history and counting! MB Sprinter and '92 Nissan Gloria on the way!

  • cccompsoncccompson Member Posts: 2,382
    sativo, can you supply a link to the bidding on the item?

    From what I've seen in this discussion (and having bought on ebay), it's unclear to me what exactly transpired here.
  • sativosativo Member Posts: 17
    gbrozen -- I mistook your response for someone elses. Do you have a legal source to back up your claim about the meaning of OTD or is your opinion just conjecture?

    Because I could just as easily argue there is another way to interpret OTD. OTD is business slang that has become a "conventionally" understood term to mean "the final price that covers everything" -- particularly tax, title, license, and doc fees -- otherwise, why even use the term???
  • sativosativo Member Posts: 17
    Sorry ccompson, no can do.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Member Posts: 2,918
    With all this "legal" talk, I'd like to see this ad as well.
  • cccompsoncccompson Member Posts: 2,382
    Well, just based what you've said, it sounds to me as though there either was never an agreement here or you are in default.

    Evidence of the former: a counter-offer is a rejection of the offer. You offered OTD and he said 15K was the price for the vehicle. If this was the case, there was no contract.

    However, I don't know of a way to bid a price on ebay coupled with an additional condition (here OTD) - that's why I'd like to see the actual listing. There's only a place for you to fill in your bid in dollars. If you won the auction that way, you are obligated to buy the vehicle for the amount of the winning bid. Taxes, title, etc., are your problem, not the seller's.
  • jhurstjhurst Member Posts: 2
    I am about to make an out of state car purchase and need some help. I'm from TN and plan to buy a vehicle in VA from an auth. VW dealer. He has given me a bottom line price that excludes tax? What else should I be aware of in regards to fees? I will be financing the used vehicle. Is there any way to get a reduction in sales tax rate or do I have to pay full TN state sales tax?

    Thanks
  • sativosativo Member Posts: 17
    Yeah, it was a feature I've never seen before. It allowed me to make a counter offer. I was able to put in the amount + terms of my counter. He accepted it.

    Sorry, I can't show the page. Just not a good idea to do that at the moment if there will be any litigation.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Member Posts: 2,918
    So you post your story askign for help and when someone asks you for additional information and/or questions the story, you refuse to provide this information. Not sure how any of us reading the ad will hurt if there is a lawsuit.

    Your counter offer was "$15000 OTD + delivery". Since it is an out of state dealer, he is not responsible for tax, tags, registration....
  • pch101pch101 Member Posts: 582
    Just not a good idea to do that at the moment if there will be any litigation.

    I think it's wise not to show that to strangers on the internet. But that being said, it's safe to say that there will be no lawsuit.

    Have you started turning the screws on him yet? You need to fire the first shot with Ebay -- I'd start with the complaints and negative reputation stuff right now, on the basis that the dealership tried to rewrite your agreement.
  • sativosativo Member Posts: 17
    pch101 - yep, sure have. I think ebay tried calling me today... but we got disconnected (damn cell phones, lol) before the rep. finished introducing himself. When I called the number on my caller ID, I got a generic ebay line with too many phone options to know what to do. Was hoping he'd call back, but he didn't. No word via email yet either. Thanks for advice/support.

    dtownfb - please review the previous posts. if you think OTD means the dealer doesn't pay for taxes, then please provide something more than just your opinion. Do you have a legal reference? How do you know what the courts interpret OTD to mean? Also.. do a search online for OTD -- I think you'll find the result to more often than not imply that taxes, title, etc.. are included. It's the conventional meaning that is important, not the literal one. The car is likely parked outside... there is no door!
  • tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059
    You may want to visit with some others who have ebay experience in the Purchasing a Vehicle On-line (Ebay, etc.) discussion.

    tidester, host
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Member Posts: 2,882
    there is contract law and then there is Ebay law

    Bingo!!!

    Sativo: Your contemplating way too much on this. There is no way this guy will take this to court. Give the guy negative feedback fully explaining why, ignore him, and move on.
  • british_roverbritish_rover Member Posts: 8,502
    when people over think things.

    Which is exactly what is happening in this situation.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Member Posts: 31,022
    Because I could just as easily argue there is another way to interpret OTD.

    Yes, its my opinion, and yes, you could just as easily argue. Neither of us (nor the other posters) have legal precedence to stand on (none that has been shown thus far, anyway).

    But I honestly stand behind the fact that my literal interpretation is far easier to prove than the statment, "the term should generally be understood to mean ..."

    But its probably the business that I'm in. I work with the printed word, so I try to leave little room for reading into things.

    '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '13 Fiat 500c, '21 WRX, '20 S90 T6, '22 4xE. 62-car history and counting! MB Sprinter and '92 Nissan Gloria on the way!

  • dtownfbdtownfb Member Posts: 2,918
    sativo: I have no legal precedent but I do know that the term OTD (out the door) is not a common term. If you are dealing with an in-state dealership and say OTD it means one thing. In this case (out of state dealership) it means another. which is why you don't use these types of terms. Instead spell it out.

    Again, since this was done on E-BAy, it comes down to what was in the seller's advertisement, not his interpretation of OTD versus yours. When you use E-bay, you play by their rules. I've bought on E-bay a few times and i know before bidding you better read the advertisement carefully. That $15 software becomes $30 once you add in shipping and handling. that golf club for $50 comes with a shaft that is as stiff as a whip. But this is normally spelled out in the ad.

    since you both didn't agree on a price do as another poster suggested, give the seller the negative review and move on. It would not be in his best interests to sue. Too much money and the fact that your follow-up conversation demonstrates that you two were not on the same page. So everyone should just walk away.
  • pch101pch101 Member Posts: 582
    I love it when people over think things.

    Which is exactly what is happening in this situation.


    Based upon the post, he seems to be overthinking it because the dealer demanded more money AND threatened to sue him if he didn't pay it. Threats of lawsuits tend to stimulate a lot of thinking, even if the threats are out of line.
  • pch101pch101 Member Posts: 582
    #18 did a nice job of presenting this, but to add to it, every contract requires (1) an offer, (2) acceptance of that offer, and (3) an exchange of "consideration" (that usually means money exchanged for goods or services), which can be summarized as a "meeting of the minds."

    Integral to these three steps includes a mutual agreement on price and terms. For whatever reason, regardless of who's fault it is, buyer and seller are not on the same page as to what the price is. That alone is an indicator that there is no contract.

    Ebay has its rules, but they are not law. While Ebay can punish its members for breaking its rules, it's debatable that this results in an enforcable contract, particularly since the goods have yet to be exchanged, which means that neither party has provided its "consideration." Things might be different if you had already taken the car, but since you haven't, it isn't likely that either party has provided the consideration necessary to claim violation of a contract.

    This link might help to explain some of this. Contract Basics
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H EdmundsAdministrator Posts: 11,126
    Guys, can anyone take a break from the "OTD" debate to give this new member a little feedback?
    jhurst, "Buying used cars from out of state" #38, 16 Nov 2006 6:09 pm

    Thanks!

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  • qbrozenqbrozen Member Posts: 31,022
    you'll have to pay full tax when you go to register the car in TN.

    Does his bottom-line price include all fees? If you know exactly what you will pay to drive the car away, then there is nothing else to worry about.

    '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '13 Fiat 500c, '21 WRX, '20 S90 T6, '22 4xE. 62-car history and counting! MB Sprinter and '92 Nissan Gloria on the way!

  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H EdmundsAdministrator Posts: 11,126
    jhurst, one other question... are you trading in a vehicle, or just purchasing one?

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  • dtownfbdtownfb Member Posts: 2,918
    Absolutely agree!!!! Next case.
  • 0435004350 Member Posts: 26
    I've purchased vehicles at several out-of-state. 4 years
    ago, the out-of-state dealer didn't collect my state's
    sales tax. When I went to license branch in my state to
    register the vehicle, I paid the sales tax when I transferred the plate at the license branch.

    Last year, went to the same other state. This dealer
    collected the sales tax for my state and gave me their
    state's treasury certificate to show my state's license branch that I had paid the sales tax out-of-state. I
    was told by the dealer that too many people who
    were buying out-of-state were evading sales taxes
    by never registering their new to them vehicle, so
    the other state had to gone reciprocal collection
    with a number of states and then forwarded the sales
    tax to their state treasury who then forwarded
    it to my state's revenue dept. Although I was leery
    at first, when I registered the vehicle in my state everything went smooth and I did not need to double
    pay the sales tax in my state. Thus, are Tenn and Va
    reciprocal states?
  • 0435004350 Member Posts: 26
    I don't know much about E-Bay. I haven't read all
    of these threads but there are several other legal
    principles that might be applicable.

    One is the parol evidence rule. Essentially, unless
    the written contract is vague, you must look to only
    the "4 corners" of the instrument. That is a standard
    that a Court would look at, essentially excluding
    some potentially relevant "circumstances" from the
    decision making process.

    The second is that all vagueness is construed
    against the drafter of the applicable vague portion
    of the document. Thus, who caused the vagueness?
This discussion has been closed.