Yes, there is a price gouging law in Ohio - it’s part of our Udap law. Many other states have a version of it in one way or another but Ohio has a pretty clear law. It says that no business (including car dealers) can sell something to a consumer for substantially more than what the same thing normally sells for somewhere else. Credit repair car dealers and buy here-pay here lots, and their finance companies, often gouge their customers on both the car price and the finance cost - because they know they can get away with it when the buyer has little choice where to shop because of their financial troubles or history. The way to tell for sure in your case is to find out what your kind of car was selling for at other dealers or in private sales, at the time you bought it. Look at old newspapers. Look at current prices too, because if it is selling now for thousands less than you paid just a year or less ago, then you may have been ripped off. And what can you do about it? Ohio’s price gouging law says that you can recover up to 3 times the amount you were overcharged and, in some cases, you may even be able to cancel the deal if you act quickly enough and if there has been no significant change in the condition of the vehicle since you got it. Of course, no car dealer who gouges you on the price is going to admit it or tell you they violated the law. And frankly Ohio’s price gouging law is so seldom heard of (and it is counter to what most people think) so many lawyers and judges don’t even know about it. You need to talk to a local Car Sales Fraud Lawyer near you. Handling cases like this against car dealers in Ohio, it's what we do. And it keeps me busy. For a Free Online 50 State National List of Consumer Law Lawyers, click on the link below and find one near you (lawyers don’t pay to get listed here and most of them are members of the only national association for Consumer Law lawyers, NACA.net). You can also look for one here on Avvo under the Find a Lawyer tab. Or you can call your local attorney's Bar Association and ask for a referral to a Consumer Law attorney near you. But act quickly because for every legal right you have, there is only a limited amount of time to actually file a lawsuit in court or your rights expire (it's called the statute of limitations), so don't waste your time getting to a Consumer Law attorney and finding out what your rights are. If this answer was helpful, please give a “Vote UP” review below. And please be sure to indicate the best answer to your question so we can all be sure we are being helpful. Thanks for asking and Good Luck. Ron Burdge, www.BurdgeLaw.com
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This answer is for general purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. The law in your state may differ and your best answer will always come from a local attorney that you meet with privately. For a Free Online 50 State National List of Consumer Law Lawyers, click on this link (http://tinyurl.com/79ku5jx) and find one near you
Contact a consumer protection attorney to determine if your contract is enforceable, and if there are violations of the Fair Debt Collection Act or other consumer rights laws that may give you a remedy. Most of these attorneys will give you a free consultation.
Coming out of bankruptcy you were probably delighted to get financing of any kind. Did you pay attention when you completed the financial management class? It's designed to teach you to avoid these mistakes going forward. You made a bad deal. Now you will have to live with it. Trade in value is always artificially low. It is a price that will insure a dealer a reasonable profit. You should be looking at the blue book private party value for an accurate reflection of the car's value. Unfortunately the actual creditor is not controlled by the fair debt collection practices act. Ohio in its infinite wisdom of protection of businesses does not have its own FDCPA. if a collection agency does these things they are actionable. You don't explain why you no longer want the vehicle. If the only problem is that you made a high interest bad deal, learn from the experience and shop around next time. I have two excellent new car dealerships that offer very favorable deals to people just out of bankruptcy. Both of the salesmen are former clients who have crafted programs for people just like you.