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Fear of bears, cougars forced B.C. man to use Uber, lawsuit claims

Ride-hailing service used during wrangle over car purchase

The plaintiff in a lawsuit against a Langley car dealer claimed he needed to use Uber rides while waiting for a delayed car purchase because of “bears and cougars” around his home.

The case, heard in a B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal in June, saw the plaintiff asking for compensation from a car dealer after a mistake resulted in them selling the car he’d planned to lease to someone else.

On Jan. 3, 2022, the plaintiff put down a $400 deposit to receive a 2022 model Hyundai Elantra.

The car arrived and was ready on Feb. 5, but the plaintiff was now uncertain – he asked the dealership about various financing and lease options, and put off picking up the car for a little over a month.

He was ready to pick it up on March 11 or 12, but as a result of a mix up, the car was sold to someone else on March 10.

The dealership re-ordered the same model of car for the buyer, and offered him different colours or models that would arrive sooner, but he declined, according to the Civil Resolution Tribunal ruling handed down on June 13.

Unfortunately, production of the 2022 model of the Elantra slowed and few were available. The dealership finally offered the plaintiff a 2023 model in May. However, that newer model would come with a higher price tag.

The plaintiff refused, and took the dealership to court, asking that the tribunal order the dealership to either provide him with a 2022 Elantra at the previously agreed lease rate, or that they reimburse him for his $400 down payment, as well as up to $5,000 in transportation expenses he said he incurred because of the delay in getting a vehicle.

Tribunal member Kristin Gardner wrote in her ruling that the dealership had indicated they were happy to refund the deposit, and she ordered them to do so with interest.

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But that was as far as she would go for compensation. Once the deposit is handed back, the dealership has no obligation to provide him a specific car, Gardner ruled.

The plaintiff also claimed that he racked up bills on ride hailing service Uber during the wait between January and April 30, the deadline for the car’s arrival.

“The receipts in evidence show some trips were relatively short, but [the plaintiff] says he did not feel safe taking public transit or walking due to bears and cougars in the area around his home,” Gardner wrote in her ruling.

She said even if she accepted that, the plaintiff had not shown that his Uber expenses would have exceeded the cost of leasing the car, so he could not show he had suffered any financial loss.

In the end, the plaintiff will receive $499.23 from the dealership, which includes his deposit, $11.73 in interest, and $87.50 in Civil Resolution Tribunal panel fees.

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Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
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