FROM THE GARLAND COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 26CV-2013-734-I]
HONORABLE JOHN HOMER WRIGHT, JUDGE AFFIRMED
Tabatha Branch, for appellant.
Darrel Blount, for appellee.
W. GRUBER, Judge
September 25, 2013, John Gibson Auto Sales (Gibson) filed a
complaint in the Circuit Court of Garland County against
Angel Epley for allegedly breaching the terms of a May 2013
motor-vehicle sales contract and refusing to return the
vehicle, a 2001 GMC Sierra. Gibson sought replevin and
judgment in an amount to be determined after recovery of the
vehicle. Ms. Epley answered that the case arose from
Gibson's negligence, misrepresentation, breaches of
warranty and contract, and statutory violations. She
counterclaimed and sought damages for breach of warranty,
misrepresentation, violation of the Arkansas Consumer
Protection Act, and fraud. She tendered the vehicle to Gibson
in November 2014, and Gibson picked it up.
trial court conducted a bench trial in October 2015, took the
case under advisement, and issued a written order on November
6, 2015. The order stated as follows:
1. John Gibson Auto Sales sold the vehicle to Defendant Epley
in an "as is" condition but, by a preponderance of
the evidence, Epley was told by Gibson's agent that she
could return the vehicle within three days if she was not
satisfied with it and her money would be returned.
2. Epley returned the vehicle, but [Gibson] refused to honor
its promise to take the vehicle back and return her money,
therefore Gibson's claim for a deficiency judgement is
dismissed with prejudice.
3. Epley's continued use of the vehicle without paying
[Gibson] serves as a complete setoff against any refund of
moneys paid by her for the vehicle.
4. Epley has failed to prove any other damages attributable
to Gibson's failure to honor the rescission, therefore
her counterclaim for damages [is] dismissed with prejudice.
Epley appeals, raising three points. She contends that the
trial court erred in dismissing her claim for violation of
the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, dismissing her
claim for fraud to induce the contract, and failing to award
punitive damages. We affirm.
trial, Ms. Epley testified to the following events. She went
to Gibson and told the salesman, "Chris, " that she
"already had a truck" she "was getting from
another car lot" but wanted something more reliable.
Chris showed her the GMC, describing it as "a little
rough on the outside" but "good and reliable"
and safe for transporting her child. She signed an "as
is" buyer's order and paid $600 down. Chris told her
to bring the vehicle back if she did not like it and he would
give her money back. She brought the vehicle back the first
day after noticing that the transmission was slipping or the
accelerator was sticking. She was given a loaner for
"maybe a week" while the GMC was being repaired.
She purchased headlights, a wiring harness, tires, rims, and
a stereo for the GMC. She testified, "I was working for
Mary Kay and I could not host a party. . . . The vehicle
stopped on me several times." She said that she put 1,
500 to 2, 000 miles on the vehicle and did not know why its
GPS would show 18, 000 miles for the time period that she had
Esaw testified that he had owned the GMC for two years before
Gibson sold it to Ms. Epley. He stated that he had paid for
repairs to the front end, drive axle, gear box, front hubs,
and brake rotors; he had damaged the vehicle; and he had put
new tires on it. It had a bad motor and 110, 000 miles on the
odometer when he surrendered it to Gibson, and he told Gibson
that the vehicle should have been scrapped and used for
Hamilton, Gibson's record keeper, testified that Gibson
did not offer any additional warranties, that any additional
terms would be listed on a buyer's order, that salesmen
were not authorized to inform customers that they could
return a vehicle they did not like and get their money back,
and that she did not know what the salesman had said
regarding the GMC. She testified that Gibson occasionally
used other vendors to do maintenance on a vehicle if a
customer discovered a problem and that, in this particular
case, another shop had made and guaranteed repairs to the GMC
before it left the lot. She testified that Ms. Epley never
made payments on the $10, ...