By Michael R. Jackson, Shareholder
The German purchaser of an antique vehicle was deceived in the United States, when he received two vehicles instead of one – problematic was that he was attempting to purchase one, single vehicle and, instead, received two vehicles that had been welded together to create one in an effort to pass it off as a 1965 Mercedes Benz SEb 220 Coupe.
A.B. (initials are utilized to safeguard the privacy of our client) found an advertisement for the 1965 Mercedes Benz SEb 220 Coupe in Virginia and contracted with the seller to purchase the vehicle. However, the vehicle was not, in fact, a 1965 Mercedes Benz SEb 220 Coupe. Rather, the vehicle was the product of two halves of two different automobiles having been welded together. In other words, although half of the vehicle was a 1965 Mercedes Benz SEb 220 Coupe, the other half of the vehicle was something else entirely, making it an amalgam of two halves of two separate automobiles having been fused together. To say the least, the seller had misrepresented what he was selling to A.B. and such representations were false and deceptive.
The seller’s conduct ran afoul of multiple provisions of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act. Per VA ST § 59.1-200 (5) it is unlawful for a seller of goods to “[m]isrepresent that goods or services have certain quantities, characteristics, ingredients, uses, or benefits.” Per VA ST § 59.1-200 (6) it is unlawful for a seller to “misrepresen[t] that goods or services are of a particular standard, quality, grade, style, or model.” Per VA ST § 59.1-200 (8) it is unlawful for a seller to “[a]dvertis[e] goods or services with intent not to sell them as advertised.” A.B. was aggrieved by these unlawful acts, as he paid a substantial sum of money for a 1965 Mercedes Benz SEb 220 Coupe, but did not receive one.
The surrounding circumstances appeared to indicate that this German purchaser of an antique vehicle was purposefully deceived. The vehicle had apparently been in the seller’s family for over a decade. Further, the seller emphasized that the vehicle was being sold “as is.” When A.B. made the seller aware of the problem, the seller was not at all surprised and did not deny the problem. Thus, the argument existed that the seller knowingly attempted to pass the vehicle off as something other than what the vehicle is. Consequently, A.B. wanted to recover not only what he had paid for the vehicle but additional costs and damages.
Jackson Law International was retained by A.B. to represent him in efforts at minimum to secure the return of the funds utilized to purchase the vehicle. Following a demand letter, and the seller retaining his own attorney, an amicable settlement was reached before a formal lawsuit became necessary, which involved a recovery for A.B. that was 30% above what he had paid for the vehicle initially. As a result of Jackson Law International achieving this highly favorable settlement, A.B. was quite pleased with the result.
If you have been defrauded in the purchase of an antique vehicle, we would welcome the opportunity to discuss your case with you to determine whether you also might have a viable claim against the seller.
International Litigation typically presents the courts, attorneys, and parties with unique challenges that fall outside of the general experience of law firms that have not routinely handled such matters. Our international experience allows us to assist clients and other law firms in international matters, and the firm looks forward to the opportunity to put that experience to work for its clients.
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© Jackson Law International 2018