Tyler testified that when he went into Rapid Cash on March 6, he did not intend to sell his car, and in particular, he did not intend to sell his car for so little money. He explained that the car was in good working order. Tyler did not testify about the time agreed upon for repayment of the loan, nor did he testify that the loan was to be repaid with interest. Tyler testified that when Hampton came to pick up the car from his residence, Hampton assured him that if he repaid the money, he would get his car back. Again, Tyler did not relate a time period agreed upon for repayment.
Tyler stated that he understood that he was putting his car up for collateral for a loan, and that he would lose his car if the loan were not repaid
Tyler stated that on an unspecified date in late pton’s secretary at Rapid Cash called to ask him to come in and repay the loan. Tyler stated that when he went to Rapid Cash with the money, likely early in pton told him that the car had already been sold. Tyler testified that in addition to losing the car, he had several hundred dollars’ worth of tools in the trunk of his car that he did not recover.
Hampton testified that the term of the loan was two weeks from its inception
Orland Lloyd, used car sales manager at a local Toyota dealership, testified that a car like Tyler’s Camry would have been worth roughly $2,, the National Automobile Dealers Association (“NADA”) book retail valuation. The notary who notarized the sale agreement, sey, is in the used car business as well, and he testified at trial but did not see the car and did not offer a value for the car.
When Tyler was unable to retrieve his car, he filed suit against Rapid Cash, seeking the value of the car as well as damages under the Louisiana Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL). He did not seek damages for the lost tools in the petition. At trial, Tyler was allowed to verbally amend his petition to add Hampton as a defendant but was not allowed to add a claim for the lost tools. After hearing the evidence, the court provided verbal reasons for deciding the case in favor of the defendants. The court concluded that the transaction was between Tyler and Hampton, so the court found no cause of action against Rapid Cash. The court found that the transaction was lawful, that it was simply a “bad deal” for Tyler, and that Hampton was entitled to keep the car when Tyler failed to repay the money within two weeks. Tyler now appeals.
Tyler urges three assignments of error on appeal. The first two challenge the trial court’s ruling that the transaction was a valid conditional sale, and the third challenges the court’s refusal to award damages for conversion or the violation of the UTPCPL.
The written agreement between the parties in this case is a simple contract of sale. Even though the agreement appears to be invalid as an authentic act because no notary was present when the parties and witnesses signed, the agreement appears to be an act under private signature since Tyler acknowledged in court that he signed the document. La. C.C. arts. 1834 and 1836. Testimony may be admitted to prove that such an agreement was, inter alia, a simulation. La. C.C. art. 1848.
Both Taylor and Hampton testified that the written agreement did not encompass their entire agreement. Tyler did not testify about the term of the loan, but said that at the time Hampton took the car from his house in pton told him that he could get his car back if he repaid the money. Tyler did not testify about what time limit he understood to apply to this agreement. These two witnesses also disagreed about the dates of other events; Hampton said that he came to get the car in March, but Tyler remembered the event happening in April.