ILNews

Court: Buyer's remorse doesn't entitle refund

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2007
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An Indiana Supreme Court ruling reinforces the phrase "buyer beware" during tax sales, affirming that a purchaser at a tax sale who doesn't seek a tax deed as required under Indiana Code is not entitled to a partial refund of the purchase price.

In the case In Re: Parcels Sold for Delinquent Taxes, Vanderburgh County Auditor et al. v. Michiana Campgrounds, LLC, 82S01-0701-CV2, the Supreme Court yesterday reversed the trial court's grant of Michiana's motion for a refund of the purchase price of three properties it purchased in a tax sale, minus a 25 percent penalty. Vanderburgh County refused to refund the money, arguing Michiana didn't meet the requirements under Indiana Code to receive a refund.

Under Indiana Code, purchasers at a tax sale are able to receive refunds of the purchase price minus 25 percent of the price if the purchaser follows the requirements under Indiana Code to obtain a tax deed but are refused the deed by the court.

In this case, Michiana never attempted to ask for a tax deed on three of the properties it purchased before it asked for a refund of the properties, minus the 25 percent penalty. The county auditor refused to issue a refund because Michiana chose to not follow the necessary steps under Indiana Code to be entitled to the refund. Both the trial court and the Court of Appeals ordered Vanderburgh County to refund the purchase prices minus the 25 percent penalty, citing I.C. 6-1.1-25-4.6(d).

The county argued Michiana shouldn't receive the refund because according to that statute, refunds are only granted if the purchaser has filed a petition for a tax deed. Because Michiana issued the first notice under section 4.5, but did not fulfill the requirements under section 4.6, Michiana should not receive a refund of any amount.

The Supreme Court ruled that tax sale purchasers have to make a "bona fide attempt" to comply with requirements under Indiana Code to obtain a refund. Because Michiana never applied for a tax deed, it couldn't be denied one by the court, which would enable the company to receive the refund minus the penalty. "We think that the statutory reference to 'refusal' purposefully limits refunds to purchasers who go to the time and expense of seeking a deed. Buyer's remorse is not a basis for a refund," wrote Justice Theodore Boehm.
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  1. As one of the many consumers affected by this breach, I found my bank data had been lifted and used to buy over $200 of various merchandise in New York. I did a pretty good job of tracing the purchases to stores around a college campus just from the info on my bank statement. Hm. Mr. Hill, I would like my $200 back! It doesn't belong to the state, in my opinion. Give it back to the consumers affected. I had to freeze my credit and take out data protection, order a new debit card and wait until it arrived. I deserve something for my trouble!

  2. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  3. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  4. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  5. Different rules for different folks....

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