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MURRAY FREEMAN v. KOERNER FORD SCRANTON (12/10/87)

filed: December 10, 1987.

MURRAY FREEMAN, APPELLANT,
v.
KOERNER FORD OF SCRANTON, INCORPORATED AND FORD MOTOR CREDIT COMPANY, APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order April 14, 1987, in the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County, No. 5511 Civil 1986.

COUNSEL

Murray Freeman, in propria persona.

Anthony J. Piazza, Jr. (on brief), Michael A. Genello, Tellie, Durkin, Murphy, & Piazza, P.C., Scranton, for Koerner Ford, appellee.

Paul A. Barrett, O'Malley, Harris, & Schneider, P.C., Scranton, for Ford Motor, appellee.

Rowley, Wieand and Olszewski, JJ.

Author: Olszewski

[ 370 Pa. Super. Page 152]

This is an appeal from an order sustaining appellees' demurrers and dismissing appellant's complaint. We are presented with the question of whether appellees violated the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), 15 U.S.C. § 1691 et seq., in declaring appellant's financing application incomplete and in failing to give appellant written notice of an adverse determination regarding his application. For reasons discussed below, we find no violation of the ECOA and, therefore, we affirm the decision of the trial court.

On December 9, 1985, appellant ordered a 1986 Ford Escort station wagon from appellee Koerner Ford of Scranton (Koerner Ford), subject to qualification for financing. Appellant was given a standard application for credit that he failed to complete by withholding his Social Security number. After being orally advised that the number was necessary to assess his credit history, appellant again refused to divulge the information. Three days later, appellant ordered and subsequently purchased the same make, model, and year automobile from another Ford dealer. Appellant commenced suit against appellees to recover: (1) the difference between what he paid for the vehicle and what he would have paid had his application been accepted and approved, and (2) other relief available under the ECOA.

Appellant alleges two violations under the ECOA. First, appellant claims that the trial court erred when it concluded that written notice of adverse action on appellant's incomplete credit application was not required. We note, preliminarily, that the ECOA was enacted to ensure fairness in creditors' consideration of credit applications. See 15

[ 370 Pa. Super. Page 153]

U.S.C. § 1691(a). To insure fairness, the ECOA makes it unlawful for a creditor to discriminate against an applicant with respect to any aspect of a credit application on the basis of race, color, religion, or sex, id. at (a)(1); or because an applicant has in good faith exercised any right under the ECOA, id. at (a)(3).

Regulations promulgated under the ECOA mandate written notification within thirty days after the taking of adverse action on an uncompleted application. 12 C.F.R. § 202.9(a)(2). Courts interpreting 12 C.F.R. § 202.9(a)(2) have determined, however, that when an application is withdrawn, the creditor's obligations under the regulation cease and the failure of the creditor to give notice does not violate the regulation. Thompson v. Galles Chevrolet Co., 807 F.2d 163 (10th Cir. 1986). The facts of the case demonstrate whether recission occurred. Id. at 166-167. In Thompson, the court held that exhibition of complete disinclination to obtain a vehicle from the defendant-dealer led to the conclusion that applicant had no further use for the credit application. Id. at 167. "Having abandoned their 'end' of buying a Galles' truck, plaintiffs must necessarily have also revoked the 'means,' namely the financing credit application, chosen to accomplish that end." Id.

The facts of the instant case are analogous to those of Thompson. Appellant abandoned his endeavor to purchase a car from Koerner Ford by ordering and purchasing the same vehicle from another local Ford dealer. In so doing, appellant revoked the financing application and was not entitled to ...


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