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Steven Michael Fahlgren

Steven Fahlgren’s Answers

251 total


  • Purchase used car at dealer and the deal added on almost $3000 to the price they initially said the vehicle would cost.

    During the purchase process, salesperson said the vehicle was $18,000. Then I was told the bank was charging an extra $2400 to the dealer and that they had to pass on. (Imperfect credit) Then the purchase price on cotract was changed to $20,989...

    Steven’s Answer

    According to the information you have provided, you have a problem with a car dealer; specifically, you may have purchased a vehicle without proper disclosure. Fortunately, I have a lot of experience defending and suing car dealers. Prior to forming my own practice in 2002, I represented several car dealers in central Florida. Since forming my own practice, I represent consumers and no longer represent any car dealers. I have sued several car dealerships for selling a used vehicle without proper disclosure. You have provided some basic information about your problem, but it would be helpful to review the contract documents.

    It sounds like you may have a claim for breach of contract, fraud and unfair and deceptive trade practices. There are certain disclosure laws that apply to car dealers selling cars to consumers versus a dealer selling someone a vehicle for commercial use.

    It would also be useful to read a detailed time line in chronological order reflecting the dates and the specific details of what happened. I really need to know what representations were made, when they were made, who was present, the details and date/time of all communications with the car dealer, any finance company or any repair shop relating to your potential matter. It is very important that you also provide a chronological copy of the relevant documents including but not limited to any advertisements that may pertain to your vehicle, any documents you obtained from the dealership, finance company or repair shop.

    Ordinarily, you should not get the vehicle repaired or dispose of the vehicle unless and until it has been inspected by your expert and the other side has been given a significant opportunity to inspect the car as well. Otherwise, you may be subject to a defense that you spoiled the evidence.

    Again, based on the information you presented, you may have a case under Florida Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act or another cause of action. Effective July 1, 2013, a law requires specific demand letters to car dealerships or you will lose valuable rights. It is usually advisable to retain an attorney before pursuing litigation. I wish you the best in the future.

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  • Can a car lot sell me a car they haven't paid off i.e. they don't have a titles for.?

    Now that it's time to transfer the registration etc. I was informed that they haven't yet paid off the car I have been making payments towards and I have to choose a substantial downgraded vehicle or loose my entire investment.

    Steven’s Answer

    The dealer is supposed to be able to transfer good title within 30 days. Failure to do so is a generally considered a breach of warranty of title. You need an attorney to protect your rights.

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  • What can I do if I was a victim of fraud on the sell of a car?

    I bought a car in a dealership as a new car (only 176 miles registered) and days later I found out that the car was involved in a serious accident and it was a total lost. They sold me the car like new on the price of any new car and they includin...

    Steven’s Answer

    You may have a fraud claim or a warranty claim or both. According to the information you have provided, you have a problem with a car dealer; specifically, you may have purchased a used lemon vehicle without proper disclosure. Fortunately, I have a lot of experience defending and suing car dealers. Prior to forming my own practice in 2002, I represented several car dealers. Since forming my own practice, I represent consumers and no longer represent any car dealers. I have sued several car dealerships for selling a used vehicle without proper disclosure.

    You have provided some basic information about your problem, but it would be helpful to review the contract documents. It would also be helpful to know if the vehicle is unmerchantable, i.e., whether it would pass without objection in the trade under the contract description. In other words, how serious was the damage and the repairs. Each of these answers will help determine how "material" the misrepresentation the dealer made as to the prior condition, use or history. We usually need to have an expert prepared to testify if the case is litigated. This can be costly so we need to know beforehand just what damages were involved and the extent the repairs were performed adequately or not.

    It sounds like you may have a claim for breach of contract, fraud and unfair and deceptive trade practices. Just because something is sold "as is" does not give the seller a license to lie about the prior use, condition or history of the vehicle. There are certain disclosure laws that apply to car dealers selling cars to consumers versus a dealer selling someone a vehicle for commercial use.

    It would also be useful to read a detailed time line in chronological order reflecting the dates and the specific details of what happened. I really need to know what representations were made, when they were made, who was present, the details and date/time of all communications with the car dealer, any finance company or any repair shop relating to your potential matter. It is very important that you also provide a chronological copy of the relevant documents including but not limited to any advertisements that may pertain to your vehicle, any documents you obtained from the dealership, finance company or repair shop.

    Ordinarily, you should not get the car repaired unless and until it has been inspected by your expert and the other side has been given a significant opportunity to inspect the car as well. Otherwise, you may be subject to a defense that you spoiled the evidence.

    Based on the information you presented, you may have a case under Florida Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act or another cause of action. Effective July 1, 2013, a law requires specific demand letters to car dealerships or you will lose valuable rights. It is usually advisable to retain an attorney before pursuing litigation. I wish you the best in the future.

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  • Can I return a car if I bought it with no warranty

    the car had a sound that the used dealer said was one thing turned out to be something much worse . By word of mouth he had promised to take care of itl

    Steven’s Answer

    Many consumers ask if there is an automatic right to cancel a contract to purchase a car within three days. The general answer is there is no three day right to cancel the transaction but, as always, there are exceptions. I'll give you some general guidelines. Consumers can rescind a contract if it was induced by fraud (perhaps by making a false representation of a material fact as you suggest) and the parties can be returned to the status quo. Consumers can revoke acceptance of a car if he or she received non-conforming goods, e.g., the consumer buys a 6 cylinder and later learns it is a 4 cylinder. Consumers would need to revoke acceptance in a reasonable time. Consumers can rescind a transaction if the sale involves a retail installment sale contract and the buyer has not taken delivery of the vehicle. Consumers can sometimes cancel a contract as part of a remedy if there is a breach of warranty and suit is brought under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. Consumers can cancel some deals if they have not received a copy of the retail installment sale contract and have not taken delivery of the vehicle. Section 520.07(c) of the Florida Statutes provides that "[u]ntil the seller has delivered or mailed to the buyer a copy of the retail installment contract, a buyer who has not received delivery of the motor vehicle shall have the right to rescind the agreement and to receive a refund of all payments made and return of all goods traded in to the seller on account of or in contemplation of the contract or, if such goods cannot be returned, the value thereof." Consumers probably can void a usurious contract under some circumstances or one that calls for finance charges in excess of Section 520.08, but that is rare. The age issue (i.e., the buyer being a minor) or some other lack of capacity oftentimes makes a contract void or voidable. There are certain protections for home solicitation sales. A consumer who entered into a contract to purchase goods or services worth more than $25 is usually allowed to cancel the contract up until midnight of the third business day after the contract was signed if the act of signing took place at any place other than the seller's business location. For home improvements, a contract to repair, make a replacement to, remodel, alter, convert, modernize, improve, or add to any land or building used as a single-family dwelling or residence in which financing is involved, may be cancelled by certified or registered mail up until midnight of the third business day after the contract was signed. Of course, consumers should always review their specific facts with an attorney to ensure that an exception to the above statements does not apply. For some car buying tips, check out articles on my website: http://fortheconsumer.com/articles.htm If this answer is helpful, please mark it as so.

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  • What kind of proof do i need to sue someone for id theft. i can prove money stolen but nothing has the guys name on it

    i filed police reports. there cant be dorect proof. but he has told meand i know. is this enough to win?

    Steven’s Answer

    I am sorry to hear of your troubles. As a previous victim of identity theft, I have some idea what you are going through at this time. I have also been involved in hundreds of hours of litigation with the credit bureaus and obtained a multimillion dollar jury verdict against Equiifax so I have considerable experience with this problem. See http://www.fortheconsumer.com/in-the-news.htm

    Although you may want to sue someone for identity theft, there is a lot of things that you can do to try to ensure that you are not damaged from identity theft in the near future. You should file a police report if you have not done so already. In my experience, I have not seen a high priority to prosecute identity thieves. If there is a prosecution, the court has authority to issue orders to correct public records. See Section 817.568(9)(b), Fla. Stat.

    You should review your credit reports ASAP. It would probably be a good idea to review your credit report prepared by Equifax, Trans Union, Experian and Innovis. You can get the first three so for free once a year by calling 877-322-8228. It is a lot simpler and quicker than jumping through all the hoops on the internet and you do not risk mistakenly agreeing to waive your right to a jury trial by arbitration. Please be sure to stay on the line until you have ordered all three reports. You can order your free copy of your Innovis report by calling 1-800-540-2505.

    If there are errors on your credit report, you should consider disputing with the credit bureaus who claim you owe a debt. You should be as detailed as possible. Hopefully, that will take care of the problem or at least help. Because you have advised that your case involves identity theft, you should file a police report and also complete a fraud affidavit from the FTC to submit to the credit bureaus along with your dispute. I strongly recommend that documents be sent to the credit bureaus rather than calling in your dispute or disputing online. In my experience, the credit bureaus take document disputes a little more seriously. If you do not dispute with the credit bureaus, it makes a case against the credit bureaus much more difficult. If you contact my office via email, I can provide a free instructional letter that helps you draft a dispute to the credit bureaus.

    You should request that the credit bureaus give you an EXTENDED fraud alert on your credit reports.

    If there are errors on your credit report, you should also dispute with the furnishers who claim you owe a debt. If you contact my office via email, I can provide a free debt validation letter. In your disputes, as set forth in my instructional letter, you should be as detailed as possible.

    If the credit bureau, creditor or debt collector writes back requesting more information, you should provide that to them even if it seems to be a stalling tactic or nonsense. If you do not, they will take the position in any litigation that you failed to mitigate your damages. Most judges and juries are going to expect you to use your best efforts to solve the problem.

    If after you dispute to the creditors and the credit bureaus, the debt collectors continue to try to collect the identity theft debt by sending you dunning letters or by placing or leaving items on your credit report, then you probably have a claim under Florida's Consumer Collection Practices Act and/or the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

    Please act quickly because there is a two year statute of limitations under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, although there is an argument now that it can be longer if you did not learn of the violation for some time. Your failure to act quickly could result in a loss of valuable rights. There is only a one year statute of limitations under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. I cannot give you any advice as to when the statute of limitations starts running unless and until I am retained because sometimes it is not clear.

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  • Dealership will not release car after signing contract

    Dealership sold me a defective car and would only trade me out of it. After signing the contract for the new car and having the registration in hand with my name on it; they would not release the vehicle without me removing negative reviews. Is t...

    Steven’s Answer

    A deal is a deal. Your contact probably contains a merger and integration clause stating that the agreement contains all of the terms in writing. If this is true and you take the dealership at its word in the written contract, its request for an additional term is just that, a request. You should be able to decline their request. If the dealer refuses to perform under the contract, you can likely sue (or bring an arbitration claim if you signed a valid arbitration agreement) for breach of contract. You should not act further without the advice and assistance of counsel. I wish you the best in the future.

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  • Can i return my car for a new one if it hasnt been 30 days. i have water leaking in my car. i just wnat a new not money back.

    i live in fort pierce but i got the car from fort lauderdale,fl

    Steven’s Answer

    Many consumers ask if there is a right to cancel a contract to purchase a car within three days or in your case, 30 days. The general answer is there is no three day right to cancel the transaction but, as always, there are exceptions. I'll give you some general guidelines. Consumers can rescind a contract if it was induced by fraud and the parties can be returned to the status quo. Consumers can revoke acceptance of a car if he or she received non-conforming goods, e.g., the consumer buys a 6 cylinder and later learns it is a 4 cylinder. Consumers would need to revoke acceptance in a reasonable time. Consumers can rescind a transaction if the sale involves a retail installment sale contract and the buyer has not taken delivery of the vehicle. Consumers can sometimes cancel a contract as part of a remedy if there is a breach of warranty and suit is brought under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. Consumers can cancel some deals if they have not received a copy of the retail installment sale contract and have not taken delivery of the vehicle. Section 520.07(c) of the Florida Statutes provides that "[u]ntil the seller has delivered or mailed to the buyer a copy of the retail installment contract, a buyer who has not received delivery of the motor vehicle shall have the right to rescind the agreement and to receive a refund of all payments made and return of all goods traded in to the seller on account of or in contemplation of the contract or, if such goods cannot be returned, the value thereof." Consumers probably can void a usurious contract under some circumstances or one that calls for finance charges in excess of Section 520.08, but that is rare. The age issue (i.e., the buyer being a minor) or some other lack of capacity oftentimes makes a contract void or voidable. There are certain protections for home solicitation sales. A consumer who entered into a contract to purchase goods or services worth more than $25 is usually allowed to cancel the contract up until midnight of the third business day after the contract was signed if the act of signing took place at any place other than the seller's business location. For home improvements, a contract to repair, make a replacement to, remodel, alter, convert, modernize, improve, or add to any land or building used as a single-family dwelling or residence in which financing is involved, may be cancelled by certified or registered mail up until midnight of the third business day after the contract was signed. Of course, consumers should always review their specific facts with an attorney to ensure that an exception to the above statements does not apply. For some car buying tips, check out articles on my website: http://fortheconsumer.com/articles.htm If this answer is helpful, please mark it as so.

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  • I bought a used car from a dealer that did not have a catalytic converter and this caused engine damage. Is the dealer liable?

    I have documented proof that the dealer knew that the catalytic converters were not installed/not functional before I bought the car. A few weeks after I bought the car the engine light came on for catalytic converter efficiency. The deal...

    Steven’s Answer

    I suspect you have a claim but I would need to see the paperwork. Even when a dealer sells a vehicle "as is," it does not give the dealer a license to lie. If you asked questions about the condition of the car and the dealer only told half-truths, there is probably liability for fraud and deceptive and unfair trade practices. Robert W. Murphy, Rebecca Covey and Jerard Heller are very experience auto fraud attorneys in your area and all have excellent reputations. I wish you the best in the future.

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  • Can I sue a company for putting false information on my credit report?

    Never had any credit with them. this situation has taken my credit score completely down. Spoke with the company and they can't find the reason or the solutions. Now I have no idea what to do next.

    Steven’s Answer

    Without a dispute to the credit bureaus first, your case would be difficult. Although the furnisher may have violated Section 1681s-2(a) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, I do not believe there is a private right of action without disputing first to the credit bureaus. There are two provisions of the FCRA that attempt to preempt defamation actions and it would be wise to become familiar with those also. If you need a sample dispute letter, please feel free to send an email to me. I wish you the best in the future.

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  • Lemon law question. do we have to disclose to a private buyer if we have a lemon law car...we have owned for nearly 3 years.

    bought car from dealership february 2012 as a lemon law car. dealership has stated they will offer us way under retail for it as its lemon law, yet I thought it expired after 2 years? tks

    Steven’s Answer

    Yes, Fla. Stat. Section 319.14(2) prohibits any person from knowingly selling a manufacturer buyback vehicle without, prior to consummating the sale, disclosing in writing to the purchaser that the vehicle has previously been titled a manufacturer buyback vehicle.

    Also, if it is a consumer transaction, there is an argument that the doctrine of caveat emptor (buyer beware) does not apply. See Johnson v. Davis (a Florida Supreme Court case holding the doctrine does not apply to residential transactions involving real property). If the caveat emptor doctrine does not apply, then you may have another duty to disclose any condition materially affecting the value of the property.

    Even if the caveat emptor doctrine applies and somehow section 319.14 of the Florida Statutes does not apply, you may get into trouble for false misrepresentations that do not tell the whole truth about a vehicle if you are asked about it.

    Accordingly, it would be best to make disclosure in most circumstances.

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