So the dealer would probably prevail against these arguments, all things being equal. But there’s a chance that the dealer will not end up on a level playing field when he appears in court. In a court, there’s always the possibility that a judge will apply “Tom’s Law.” What’s Tom’s Law?
I’ve always been a cynic. In law school, the professors taught us that judges and juries apply precedents and various applicable theories of law to come to their decisions. I don’t believe it. I think that when judges and juries get a sense that one party or the other should prevail, they go searching for whatever precedents and legal theories they need to support the result that they feel is right. Tom’s Law.
Tom’s Law is what happens when the judge decides that the dealer really took advantage of the buyer by hammering him or her on the price of the car and the related goods and services. The judge may not rule that high prices, standing alone, are in violation of any law or regulation, but that’s not the point. When the judge gets that odor of “sucker pricing,” or other perceived dealer misdeeds, suddenly the rules change.
All of a sudden, the plaintiff’s arguments that the dealer has violated highly technical rules and laws begin to sound reasonable to the judge. Rulings on procedural issues and whether evidence can be admitted begin to favor the buyer. The buyer becomes the home team, and the dealer is definitely the away team. The result is sometimes obvious, sometimes subtle, but it’s there.
According to opinion polls, auto dealers are not generally held in high regard even in the best of times, so car dealers don’t need any additional handicaps when they appear in court. So you can engage in sucker pricing or other sharp practices if you want, but be prepared to pay the price if you do. Tom’s Law.