No bid to withhold website Civics: Dealer

Are we stuck with this signed offer or can we cancel the deal?

Q Our car was wrecked and, needing a replacement quickly, we went to Formula Honda in Scarborough because they said they had four grey Honda Civic LX four-doors in stock.

A few days after we signed an offer, the dealership called to say those cars had been sold.

They asked if we’d accept a car from another dealer with a few extra kilometres on it, since it would have to be driven from the Yonge and Hwy. 407 area to their dealership.

We have refused the offer, not because of the extra kilometres, but because we feel they either misled us about having the autos in stock to get our business or they erred by not assigning the car to us on the day we signed the offer.

Are we stuck with this signed offer or can we cancel the deal?


Steve Leung, Mississauga



A Lawyer Jeff Gray of Car Help Canada (http://www.carhelpcanada, 416-651-0555), a non-profit consumer group, replies:

Where a bill of sale specifies a particular vehicle by make, model and serial number, that vehicle must be delivered to the customer for the agreed price and on the agreement’s terms.

If Mr. Leung’s bill of sale (which I haven’t seen) merely referred to a 2006 Honda Civic LX, then the dealer has the right to deliver any such Honda Civic to him, provided the price is no higher than that agreed upon and none of the other contractual terms is deleted or amended unilaterally.

It appears that Mr. Leung failed to select a particular 2006 Honda Civic LX from the dealer’s stock, which allowed the dealer to sell the four Honda Civic LXs to other customers who did specify the vehicles they wanted.

I expect the dealer will make all reasonable efforts to find a suitable vehicle for him and, perhaps, make some allowance for the distance that Civic must travel and for inconvenience.

I don’t think that a trip from Yonge and 407 to Formula Honda is an unreasonably long distance.

If Mr. Leung maintains his rigid position, he may find himself in a costly legal battle.

On the other hand, if he is prepared to compromise, it’s likely that both parties will come out winners.

Formula Honda’s sales manager, who provided his name as Angelo M., replies:

Thank you for the opportunity to respond. We care a great deal about what our customers have to say. Honesty and integrity are paramount at our dealership.

We were shocked to read about the concerns of Mr. Leung, who wasn’t present when the vehicle was purchased.

He was only present on delivery, and no mention was ever made about wanting to cancel the deal at any time.

A misunderstanding occurred about those four Civics in stock. Customers can view our new-car inventory via our website, and that is what Mr. Leung did.

The actual customer then made an appointment and came in without Mr. Leung.

The customer mentioned that they had seen four grey Civic LXs in stock.

However, the only stipulation made was that their vehicle have as low a mileage as possible.

The salesperson replied that when the credit application was approved, we would assign the next available grey Civic LX with the lowest mileage that we had — we did not say the vehicle was on our lot at the time — and that they would likely be able to take delivery in about a week.

The customer agreed to this.

We ultimately gave this buyer a vehicle that came directly from the factory, as these have the lowest mileage.

We only offered the other dealership’s Civic for reasons of earlier delivery. We were only trying to give the customer a choice, not realizing they thought we were withholding one of the four on our website.

The misunderstanding was unintentional. The vehicle was delivered on time and with acceptable mileage.

We have since placed a follow-up call with the customer.



COURT ROUTE: Bradley Parry of Coldwater related how he was “trapped in the middle of a dispute” between the Autoshield warranty firm and GM Canada regarding a manifold gasket repair for his 2002 Pontiac Montana van (AutoKnow, June 17).

Purandhar Setlur of Oakville writes that he recently helped a co-worker facing a similar situation sue his dealership and Autoshield in small claims court.

He says he won a full refund, plus some expenses.

Setlur suggests that Parry consider doing same.



Email non-mechanical questions to Eric Lai at Include your name, address and telephone number.

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