OT: Perhaps I Screwed up my Bill of Sale - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-11-2013, 11:07 AM Thread Starter
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OT: Perhaps I Screwed up my Bill of Sale

So I took a $500 deposit and in exchange provided a bill of sale for my 1973 but never put an expiration date on it or a "must complete date" on it. So now I fear that I am bound to the sale, but have to keep this car tucked away in my garage for an indefinite period of time.

I have tried to search for references that would state when I no longer need to honor the Bill of Sale, but there's not much out there.

The verbal agreement to sell (and a voided ebay auction because I am selling for less than the ebay ending price to the high bidder) took place around May 21, 2013. We executed and both signed (but did not notarize) the bill of sale on May 24, 2013 when I accepted the $500 deposit and wrote "$500 deposit received". So I believe I am bound to this agreement, but have to wonder if I put myself in a Pickle. I could put the car on the street and figure "it's his problem", but that's really just a game of chicken because I could end up stuck with the car in the end after all. I assume the best thing to do would be to send a certified check with a letter stating that the Bill of Sale if void.

I don't plan on doing any of that (especially because I just now received contact from the buyer while typing), but this is a lesson in selling used cars. I think every reference out there says to put all the required contact info and information about the car on the bill of sale but never says anything about putting an expiration on it, or what to do in the event of:
1) the buyer not completing the transaction
2) the car becoming not available in its current condition for whatever reason (theft, damage, or seller deciding to back out for some reason).

Hopefully I am writing this just to share a learning experience to the group.

However, it would be interesting to hear if there is any defacto expiration date on an agreement to sell. (I've also been holding a set of wheels for another forum member with a $200 deposit for almost 6 months now and have not received any response in my messages this week.). So it would be interesting to hear if there is a defacto "if not completed within X days, sale is void, and deposit is/must be ____" terminology.


boooorrring. Eh?




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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-11-2013, 11:09 AM Thread Starter
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P.S.


... Says the guy that left a $1000 deposit on a car in May and completed the sale in September. (But in all fairness, the seller said he was going to be away all summer and was fine with storing the car for the summer.)


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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-11-2013, 01:05 PM
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Seems a moot point since you've already done what you've done.

However, my advice / opinion for discussion, is NEVER write a bill of sale for a deposit.

Write a document indicating a deposit for a "proposed" sale, mention that its non-refundable, include whatever terms agreed upon, and include a by-when required completion date.

A "deposit" is nothing more than an agreed upon compensation for "temporarily" taking the vehicle off the market for a specific collection of terms and a specific amount of time.

For the potential buyer, they might require such things in writing as "subject to passing inspection" or some other hold harmless / way out that includes a refund of the deposit.

Save the bill of sale for when the car is actually sold.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-11-2013, 02:20 PM
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Vehicle Sales Agreement

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Originally Posted by Fonzi View Post
P.S.


... Says the guy that left a $1000 deposit on a car in May and completed the sale in September. (But in all fairness, the seller said he was going to be away all summer and was fine with storing the car for the summer.)


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Here is an agreement template that clearly covers the issue you are having.

It is very wordy, but it appears to have been put together by someone who understands legal issues. All or part of it may be useful for any future purchases/sales... hope your sale gets finalized quickly... good luck

http://www.donnyspi.com/images/vsa.pdf
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-11-2013, 06:03 PM
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+1

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Originally Posted by HandyRacing View Post
Save the bill of sale for when the car is actually sold.
That's the bottom-line.

Perhaps the other thing to factor in would be to add storage fees. After they reach a certain limit, the same rights/process as a commercial facility could apply.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-11-2013, 10:23 PM
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So did you and buyer end up coming to an understanding?

Currently: 1967 250 SL, 1963 220Sb, 1965 300SE Lang, 1971 280SE parts car, 1972 Alfa GTV, 1965 Alfa Duetto, 1993 BMW R100R
Past: 1971 250 C, 1985 300 TD, 1967 250 S, 1968 280 S,1981 300 D, 1982 280CE, 3 Facel Vegas, Borgward Isabella Coupe, Alfa 2600 Sprint, Volvo P1900 (yes), numerous less interesting Volvos, ...
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-11-2013, 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by OUTRBNKS View Post
Here is an agreement template that clearly covers the issue you are having.

http://www.donnyspi.com/images/vsa.pdf
Nice. More then I would print but too much is better than too little.

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-12-2013, 06:10 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Scoot View Post
So did you and buyer end up coming to an understanding?
I'm not saying anything until the deal is done. My insurance expires this week and I would hate to have to renew.


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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-12-2013, 06:38 AM
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It may vary by state, but I am pretty sure that here in North Dakota after one year you are allowed to sell the item to recoup storage fees accrued during that time. Any additional money gained beyond the storage fees is to be sent to the previous owner of the goods, but in your case it would be a case of $500 purchase price to them (less a year of storage) and then sell the car again.
It does mean waiting a year, though.
I am reasonably sure that is how it is supposed to work here. I, myself just threaten to make things go away if not picked up. That usually elicits the response I want (if accompanied by a little anger).

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-14-2013, 04:44 PM
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Assuming by your comment above the buyer is still hedging or failing to complete the transaction as stipulated...

Its been going on a month.

A reasonable legal argument could be made that you've suffered a financial loss, both caused by the buyer's failure to complete the deal within a reasonable time AND you've additionally suffered a loss due the car being off the market by which other potential buyers would (possibly) have stepped up and you could have sold the car to another party.

Assuming you're still holding the title and it hasn't been signed over to the "absent" buyer.

As you first indicated - You could write a certified letter with delivery confirmation declaring the sale null and void due to the buyers failure to make final payment in a timely fashion, and return the deposit via certified funds and move on. The deadbeat buyer would be hard pressed to prove damages if they have their money back.

You could also write the letter declaring the sale null and void and keep the deposit, and assert damages for having the car off the market for a month, but that would likely lead to a small claims court debate that you may or may not win.

Car deals are really simple things. Here in Michigan all one needs to do is take the money and hand over a signed title, no other documents required by the Secretary of State. Although a document declaring such and such a car sold for x amount, with a date, and declaring AS-IS / no warranty signed by the buyer protects the seller.

(for example the buyer could crash the car the next day or even on the way home and injure someone, in which case the seller would want proof it's no longer their liability)

Car deals seem to be made more complicated than they really are with funny business terms usually from buyers who "want" something, but don't have the means to buy from the get go anyway.
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