Apple Imports, Inc. v. Koole

In Apple Imports, Inc. v. Koole, 945 S.W.2d 895 (Tex.App.--Austin 1997, writ denied), the plaintiffs visited the defendant automobile dealership on a Saturday, decided to purchase a used Mazda MX-3, and orally agreed to trade in their Dodge Dynasty. Apple Imports, 945 S.W.2d at 897. Because it was late in the day, they could not complete the transaction by executing the necessary documents before the dealership closed for the weekend. Id. The plaintiffs left their Dodge at the dealership and took the Mazda home for the weekend, intending to return on Monday and complete the deal. Id. During the course of the weekend, however, they changed their minds about the purchase. Id. When they returned to the dealership on Monday, they discovered that their Dodge had already been sold to a wholesaler even though the dealership lacked both the plaintiffs' authorization to make the sale and the title to the vehicle. Id. The dealership made arrangements to have the plaintiffs' car returned, but the plaintiffs did not pick it up for several months. Id. When they ultimately retrieved it, the plaintiffs discovered that it had an additional 800 miles on the odometer and a large scratch on one side. Id. The plaintiffs filed suit, alleging DTPA violations and conversion. A jury found in favor of the DTPA violation but found that the dealership had not converted the automobile. Apple Imports, 945 S.W.2d at 897. On appeal, the dealership, asserting that its sale of the Dodge was a mere mistake and not a misrepresentation, challenged the jury's finding of a DTPA violation. Id. at 898. The Court of Appeals determined that when the dealership took possession of the plaintiffs' car to determine its trade-in value, it made an implied representation that it would not sell the vehicle until the transaction had been completed and there was a clear showing of a valid and complete transfer of ownership. Apple Imports, 945 S.W.2d at 898-99.