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Sample financial elder abuse demand letter to Car dealership

Dec 20th, 2014 | By | Category: Financial Elder Abuse

California Financial Elder Abuse Law Firm

senior protection from predatory car dealers

sample car dealer fraud financial elder abuse letter to car dealership


While there are many good and decent car dealers in California, there are also car dealerships and salepersons that are notorious for trying to “pack” the auto customer or “sock them away” or “steal their trade”  A car dealership, after all is a business and a business has to make money.  When a customer walks on the lot, there is often the mentality at many auto dealerships that “there is no B-backs” and salesman are instructed to “close them” or “get them to the desk for the four square” or “get them into the show room so the closer can get to them.”

Financial Elder Abuse Defined

The definition of financial elder abuse in California law is fairy straight forward.  What it can be boiled down to is taking money or property of an elder with the intent to convert to a wrongful use, or with the intent to defraud, and too basically take the money or property of an elder in bad faith.  This is something every car, truck and boat RV dealership in California, should think about when dealing with an elder.

Types of damages for elder abuse at car dealership

See State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Campbell (2003) 538 US 408, 419, 123 S.Ct. 1513, 1521,
Which explained that the degree of reprehensibility is the most important indicium of the reasonableness of a punitive damages award. In weighing reprehensibility, the Court listed five factors:
(a) the harm caused was physical as opposed to (merely) economic,
(b) the tortious conduct evinced a reckless disregard of the health or safety of others,
(c) the target of the conduct had financial vulnerability,
(d) the conduct involved repeated actions rather than an isolated incident, and
(e) the harm was the result of intentional malice, trickery or deceit, as opposed to merely accident. While State Farm involved bad faith by an insurer, and the Court would be expected to focus on financial vulnerability, elder abuse actions may involve physical and emotional vulnerability (as well as financial vulnerability) due to impaired judgment, and frailty from age. Such vulnerability should figure in the calculation of reprehensibility under State Farm. [See Boeken v. Philip Morris, Inc. (2005) 127 CA4th 1640, 1691, 26 CR3d 638, 677-678 (finding victim was “physically and psychologically vulnerable”)]

Types of unscrupulous car dealer tactics that might raise financial elder abuse claims

1.  Selling to an elder using pressure tactics (ex. not letting them out of the room, not letting them call their wife and family, etc. holding their trade-in car keys in a separate building so the elder cannot just get up and leave);

2.  Packing the loan application making false statements about how much money the elder makes and inflating that amount of the credit application.

3.  Stealing the buyers trade-in vehicle, (for example giving someone $500 for a car that’s actually worth $10,000.  This would be unconscionable, and could lead to a claim for money damages, punitive damages, and in some cases rescission of the loan transaction.

4.  Engaging in “bait and switch” advertising and tricking the elder to buy a “loaded” car instead of the one that senior wanted and was advertised.

5.  Rolling the car over the curb and then several days later calling and switching the financing terms, or rejecting the deal altogether and asking you to bring the car back in.  Failure to provide adverse action letters

6.  Engaging in predatory lending practices as it relates to hispanics, elders, and other protected classes.  Violations of Equal Credit Opportunity Act.

This of course is just a short list of shocking conduct that may be perpetrated against car buyers on a dealership car lot.

What to do if you believe you are a victim of financial elder abuse from a boat, car, RV dealership in California

If you believe you are a victim of financial elder abuse, call a California consumer law attorney immediately.  Take notes of everything is going down at the dealership, get names and phone numbers for potential witnesses.  Document things that were said to you.  Keep all your documents and do not leave the dealership before you obtain all your documents.  Ask to speak with the general manager if you have to, and sometimes even the owner.

Is California a new cause of action or just a form of remedy?

According to some sources, whether “financial abuse” amounts to a new cause of action or relates only to a remedy is an important question. The answer will assist counsel in analysis of the place financial abuse will have in the law, and is essential to determining how financial abuse will be pleaded.
The question has become even more complex with the addition of Welf. & Inst.C. § 15657.6, which by pinning liability to the failure to return property (for any reason) whether the property was wrongfully taken, or whether the taking in any way injured the elder, seems to establish a new liability theory, not clearly tied to existing law. Accordingly, at least in this aspect of financial abuse, a new cause of action is stated.  See Das v. Bank of America, N.A. (2010) 186 CA4th 727, 112 CR3d 439.

Don’t forget to check the California Legal Remedies Act (“CLRA”) for additional remedies and causes of action.

In the area of financial abuse, particularly arising from commercial transactions for the sale of goods or services, or charging an unreasonable fee to prepare, aid or give advice in the procurement, maintenance or securing of public social services, counsel should look at Civ.C. § 1750 et seq. Proscribed practices under the CLRA are at Civ.C. § 1770. Remedies are at Civ.C. § 1780, and include actual damages, injunctive relief, restitution of property, punitive damages and other damages. Treble damages may be available. See Cal, Civ.C. § 3345

California elder abuse resources

1.  What you must prove to win a financial elder abuse case in CA

Contact a California Elder Abuse Attorney

 Our firm fights for the rights and for fair treatment of seniors in California including cases in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orange County (Newport Beach), Phoenix, Arizona, and surrounding ares.  Contact us at (877) 276-5084 or fill out the contact form below.




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