Last week, the Ohio Supreme Court threw out a lawsuit which was filed by a disgruntled customer against Spitzer Auto World. The premise of the lawsuit was that the Plaintiff believed he had traded in a truck for the sum of $16,500.00 only to find out later, upon review of the paperwork, that he received $15,500.00 for the transaction. The higher number was the result of an oral representation made by a Spitzer Auto World Sales Representative.
The Ohio Supreme Court, tacitly overruling several other appellate decisions, applied the parole evidence rule and stated that evidence of the extrinsic prior oral representation was inadmissible. The Ohio Supreme Court followed Ohio Revised Code 1302.05. The Court further pointed out that the Consumer Sales Protection Act did not contain any provisions which would, in any way, aggregate the requirements of the parole evidence rule.
A by-product of this ruling is that it contradicts the opinions of the Ohio Attorney General as set forth in the Ohio Administrative Code 109:4-3-16( B )(22).
Ruling that there were no exceptions which would render the parole evidence rule applicable, the auto dealer prevailed in this case. Does this give license to other auto dealers to play fast and loose with their representations or perform the "bait and switch" with paperwork for unsuspecting customers?
Only time will tell . . .