In Fay v. Showcase Motors, No. 78111-1-I, 2019 Wash. App. LEXIS 2074 (Ct. App. Aug. 12, 2019), the Washington Court of Appeal found that the trial court erred in granted summary judgment to a car dealer on a consumer’s claim that the dealer misrepresented the down payment required to purchase a Shelby Mustang.
We conclude the trial court erred in granting Harris-Ford’s summary judgment on Fay’s fraudulent misrepresentation claim. First, Fay presented evidence that Harris-Ford made a misrepresentation of a material fact—that the Saleen service contracts had no value and that the Agreement included a $3,000 “credit” from the dealership as an incentive to “seal the deal.” Fay testified: 4. Larry White told me on January 7, 2014 that the down payment for the 2009 [Shelby] Mustang would be $3,900, and that I only needed to pay $900 of that. 1 paid only $900 that day. 5. I noted that the sale document reflected that a cash down payment of $3[,]900 had been applied as a credit. I was led to believe the dealership was using that $3,000 [as] an incentive to seal the deal on the newer Mustang. Fay testified that no one ever told him he would be responsible for the remaining $3,000 down payment Or that he needed to relinquish his right to a refund under the Saleen service contract to cover that portion of the down payment.3 Blackwell’s testimony that Fay agreed to pay the balance of the $3,900 cash down payment from refunds on the cancelled Saleen service contracts directly conflicts with Fay’s version of events. ¶34 Second, there was circumstantial evidence from which a trier of fact could conclude that Harris-Ford knew this statement, when made, was false, in light of White’s subsequent communications with Fay asking him to execute documents necessary to release the refund to the dealership. A reasonable trier of fact could also conclude Harris-Ford wanted Fay to rely on this representation in order to convince him to trade in the Saleen for the Shelby. A trier of fact could also find that Fay was unaware [*18] of his refund rights, based on Fay’s declaration testimony to that effect. ¶35 A trier of fact could also find that Fay’s reliance on these representations was reasonable because there is nothing in the Agreement to contradict Fay’s understanding of the deal’s terms. There is no written agreement, signed by Fay, to reflect his consent to assign service contract refunds to Harris-Ford to cover any portion of the down payment. The Agreement actually provided that the total amount “due on delivery” of the Shelby was $51,504.71. This sum reflects the total sum to be financed. And the VBO contains an integration clause indicating that there were no oral agreements between the parties. Thus, nothing in the Agreement indicates that Fay still owed $3,000. ¶36 Finally, there is evidence that Fay relied on the representations to his detriment. According to Fay, “[i]f the deal would have required me to pay the $3,000 balance or relinquish an asset valued at that amount, I would not have bought the car.” And we cannot conclude from the record before us that Fay was not damaged by the misrepresentation. Although counsel for Harris-Ford indicated in response to Fay’s motion for reconsideration that he failed [*19] to include the $3,000 down payment in his deficiency judgment calculation, there are questions of fact regarding the total amounts the dealership received for the service contract refunds on both vehicles and whether the dealership was actually entitled to those refunds in the first instance.