PHILADELPHIA — A luxury car dealership has successfully overcome allegations that it violated the state consumer protection act and unfair trade practice law when it offered to exchange a car that was damaged instead of reimburse the customer.
According to the case, the buyer entered into a contract with Porsche of the Main Line to purchase a pre-owned 2009 Ferrari 599 GTB. The buyer was aware that the car was to be obtained from a third party and signed a purchase order with Porsche of the Main Line containing an “as-is no warranty” provision.
The car was delivered and inspected by the dealer, and the buyer took possession and drove off the lot to a Ferrari dealership, where he alleged an employee noticed signs of damage to the car. The buyer returned to Porsche of the Main Line to discuss the findings and requested a full refund on the car. In lieu of a refund, the dealer offered an exchange for a car of the same value on the lot.
The buyer refused and filed suit against the dealer claiming, among other things, fraudulent representations by the dealer and violation of the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL), Pennsylvania Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) and the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Improvement Act. He claimed that Porsche of the Main Line breached verbal representations regarding the condition of the Ferrari prior to the execution of the purchase order. The buyer also sought to hold Porsche of the Main Line’s sole shareholder liable for his claims.
The case was argued at the trial level before the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County and at the appellate level before the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, and the dealership was represented by a legal team from the firm of Fox Rothschild, including Adam G. Silverstein, Michael Menkowitz and Jason C. Manfrey. Porsche of the Main Line filed preliminary objections to the buyer’s complaint and sought to have the suite dismissed based on the as-is language contained in the purchase order, as well as an integration clause which precluded any claims of breach of representations not appearing in the purchase order.
The Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County sustained the preliminary objections, and dismissed the complaint with prejudice. The plaintiff buyer appealed. The Superior Court affirmed the dismissal, agreeing with the dealership’s legal team’s position that the existence of a fully integrated, written purchase order containing an “as-is” clause barred the buyer’s attempts to introduce evidence of pre-contract representations and also precluded a finding that the buyer “justifiably” relied on any such alleged representations.