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Consumer Sales Practices Act (1972) ORC 1345.01

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Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
Wouldn’t just about every car sale fall under the “if you can’t pay for it in full you can’t afford it”?
No, they wouldn't. It could simply be that a person wants their cash working for them in a different way...or maybe the interest payments are deductible on taxes. As to retail sales, I know that I will frequently put a purchase on a card for many reasons other than not being able to afford it. For example, perhaps I want the rewards that come with the card...or maybe I want some sort of purchase protection...
 


justalayman

Senior Member
No, they wouldn't. It could simply be that a person wants their cash working for them in a different way...or maybe the interest payments are deductible on taxes. As to retail sales, I know that I will frequently put a purchase on a card for many reasons other than not being able to afford it. For example, perhaps I want the rewards that come with the card...or maybe I want some sort of purchase protection...
It has nothing to do with borrowing money if you don’t have to. It was the fact most people cannot pay for a car with cash. Tm did address this though as his understanding is that even a sale that involved a loan would still be considered to be able to afford it.
 

quincy

Senior Member
OCSPA is an Act that prohibits unfair, deceptive and unconscionable acts. Every provision in the Act falls under that umbrella.

An example of when a seller knows a consumer cannot afford a purchase would be in a real estate sale where the purchaser prequalifies for $XX financing to purchase an $XX-priced home and makes an offer to purchase based on this prequalified financing. A seller's fraudulent misrepresentation or fraudulent concealment of known house conditions (e.g., crack in foundation or rotted timbers hidden by drywall and from inspectors) could substantially increase the home's actual cost to the consumer (or a need for $XXXX rather than $XX).

An example of when a seller knows a consumer cannot benefit from the purchase would be a seller's fraudulent misrepresentation or fraudulent concealment of a material fact (e.g., salvage vehicle) that prevents consumer from making use of the purchase (e.g., unable to drive or sell vehicle).

For a case illustrating the latter example, here is a link to Thornton v. State Farm Mutual Ins Co, Inc:

There is more involved in supporting a legal action under this Act than a consumer saying, "I can't afford what the seller sold me." There has to be shown that the seller in some way deceived the consumer into buying what the seller was selling (with a consumer's justifiable reliance on the seller's communications).

... in mentioning a hypothetical situation, when making a large transaction such as house or a car, the salesperson gathers the customer's income information and other payment obligations and should determine if there's enough money for the consumer to 'reasonably' make their monthly payments. However, since life has so many unexpected occurrences in it and since it's important to always save or put away money for emergencies, I would think that it would be unreasonable for a sales person to 'max' out practically all of a customer's income to pay for a product or a service. Any comments on this?
 
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Parkerman

Member
OCSPA is an Act that prohibits unfair, deceptive and unconscionable acts. Every provision in the Act falls under that umbrella.

An example of when a seller knows a consumer cannot afford a purchase would be in a real estate sale where the purchaser prequalifies for $XX financing to purchase an $XX-priced home and makes an offer to purchase based on this prequalified financing. A seller's fraudulent misrepresentation or fraudulent concealment of known house conditions (e.g., crack in foundation or rotted timbers hidden by drywall and from inspectors) could substantially increase the home's actual cost to the consumer (or a need for $XXXX rather than $XX).
Thank you for your reply, quincy.

There is more involved in supporting a legal action under this Act than a consumer saying, "I can't afford what the seller sold me." There has to be shown that the seller in some way deceived the consumer into buying what the seller was selling (with a consumer's justifiable reliance on the seller's communications).
Let me ask you something, quincy. Do think this hurts the consumer's position if the seller actually told the consumer that they would have to live off their credit card because of the payments? (Note: the consumer thought that the seller was mistaken when they said that.)
 
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quincy

Senior Member
Thank you for your reply, quincy.

Let me ask you something, quincy. Do think this hurts the consumer's position if the seller actually told the consumer that they would have to live off their credit card because of the payments? (Note: the consumer thought that the seller was mistaken when they said that.)
I can't tell you if it hurts or helps the consumer. Without more, it probably does neither. It sounds most like an offhand comment like "this'll cost you an arm and a leg."
 

Parkerman

Member
I can't tell you if it hurts or helps the consumer. Without more, it probably does neither. It sounds most like an offhand comment like "this'll cost you an arm and a leg."
Okay, I'm going to try and be as specific as I can... but without being too specific.

1) Consumer is on fixed income and is on SSDI.

2) During the sales transaction, the 'living off of credit card' statement was made by the sales person, but the consumer thought the salesperson was mistaken.

3) After the sale was made and the consumer took the car home and looked at their bills, they realized the 'living off credit card' statement was true.

4) Several days after the sale, the consumer had to be admitted into the hospital for about 10 days and, therefore, the consumer's focus was not on the 30 day return period that the car had.

5) After talking to a lawyer about the situation, the lawyer had mentioned that the fact that the salesperson told the consumer that they 'were going to have to live off their credit card' didn't help matters. (Which to me, shouldn't make a difference.)

P.S. The lawyer didn't want to take the case, however, I still think that there's a case there and other lawyers are being contacted.
 

ShyCat

Senior Member
Your consumer should have known their own spending needs before buying a car. That they didn't bother to look at their bills and do the simple arithmetic until after they bought the car is on them, not the salesperson. Your consumer sounds like the stubborn entitled denialist we deal with in our own extended family.
 

justalayman

Senior Member
Living off a credit card doesn’t necessarily mean one is accruing an ongoing increase in debt load. Living off a credit card could also refer to simply time shifting the payment to align with their social security payment. In itself I don’t see the statement as damning.
 

quincy

Senior Member
Okay, I'm going to try and be as specific as I can... but without being too specific.

1) Consumer is on fixed income and is on SSDI.

2) During the sales transaction, the 'living off of credit card' statement was made by the sales person, but the consumer thought the salesperson was mistaken.

3) After the sale was made and the consumer took the car home and looked at their bills, they realized the 'living off credit card' statement was true.

4) Several days after the sale, the consumer had to be admitted into the hospital for about 10 days and, therefore, the consumer's focus was not on the 30 day return period that the car had.

5) After talking to a lawyer about the situation, the lawyer had mentioned that the fact that the salesperson told the consumer that they 'were going to have to live off their credit card' didn't help matters. (Which to me, shouldn't make a difference.)

P.S. The lawyer didn't want to take the case, however, I still think that there's a case there and other lawyers are being contacted.
I don't see that the consumer has a claim. I see nothing deceitful or unfair about the transaction. That the consumer purchased something he could not comfortably afford is on him, not the salesperson.
 

Parkerman

Member
I don't see that the consumer has a claim. I see nothing deceitful or unfair about the transaction. That the consumer purchased something he could not comfortably afford is on him, not the salesperson.
Thank you for your opinion, quincy. Also, I will be getting in touch with the other lawyers to see what they have to say, especially since the first lawyer seemed to act like there could have been a case at first. Because I would think that if he had saw that there was nothing there, he would have expressed that at the get-go.
 

quincy

Senior Member
... especially since the first lawyer seemed to act like there was a case. Because I would think that if he had saw that there was nothing there, he would have expressed that at the get-go.
One would hope so, at any rate. :)

I see at most that the seller pointed out to the consumer that the cost of the purchase was likely to stretch the consumer's budget. Nothing wrong with that.

The seller is not responsible for making the actual purchase decision for the consumer. The seller cannot hide material facts to take advantage of the consumer but I see no indication that the seller did that here.

I wish the consumer good luck.
 
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