The opinion of the court was delivered by: Aspen, District Judge:
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff Jeffrey M. Paull ("Paull") brought this action on
behalf of himself and others similarly situated alleging that
defendants Fireside Chrysler-Plymouth, Inc. ("Fireside") and
Chrysler Credit Corporation ("Chrysler") violated the Truth in
Lending Act ("TILA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1631 and 1638, and Regulation
Z promulgated thereunder,*fn1 by failing to properly disclose
certain items in a retail installment contract Paull signed in
connection with his purchase of a 1981 Mazda RX-7 from Fireside.
This matter is presently before the Court on the motions of
Fireside and Chrysler for summary judgment in their favor under
The material facts in this case are not in dispute. Paull
purchased the Mazda from Fireside under a "Retail Installment
Contract" dated October 21, 1980. See Plaintiff's Exhibit "A".
This document also served as the disclosure statement required
under TILA. The evidence in the record discloses that Paull
offered his used car, a Fiat appraised at $8,600, in trade on the
Mazda, but that Fireside agreed to give Paull a trade-in
allowance of $10,850 which was $2,250 more than the Fiat was
worth. Paull owned the Fiat subject to a loan with a balance due
of $9,004.87, however, so that, at least on paper, his net
trade-in was $1,845.13 (trade-in allowance minus balance owed).
To offset the resultant $2,250
"gain" to Paull, Fireside raised the price on the Mazda by
$2,250. Therefore, although the Mazda carried a sticker price of
$10,869, after Fireside's adjustment, Paull agreed to purchase
the Mazda for over $13,000. In addition to his trade-in, Paull
made a downpayment, in the amount of $590, of which $290 was paid
in cash with the balance paid six days later, pursuant to a
personal note executed by Paull.
The complaint alleges that the numerical amounts listed in the
spaces on the disclosure statement labelled "cash price," "cash
downpayment" and "trade-in" are not the "actual true amounts" of
the transaction. Paull bases his claim for relief on Regulation
Z, §§ 226.8(c)(1) and (2), which provides in relevant part:
In the case of a credit sale . . . the following
items . . . shall be disclosed:
(1) The cash price of the property or service
purchased, using the term "cash price."
(2) The amount of the downpayment itemized, as
applicable, as downpayment in money, using the term
"cash downpayment," downpayment in property, using
the term "trade-in" and the sum, using the term
"total downpayment." Regulation Z § 226.8(c).
The disclosure form given to Paull discloses amounts for each
required term. But the amount listed as "cash price" and
"trade-in" reflect only the final bargain and do not separately
disclose the $2,250 adjustments or any other aspect of the
negotiations. The amount listed as "cash downpayment" does not
separately disclose that Paull deferred a portion of his
downpayment. The above facts being undisputed, the Court must
consider whether the disclosures made satisfy the TILA.
The broad purpose of the Truth in Lending Act is to promote the
informed use of credit by assuring "meaningful disclosure of
credit terms" to consumers. 15 U.S.C. § 1601. To implement this
purpose, Congress delegated expansive authority to the Federal
Reserve Board, 15 U.S.C. § 1604, which promulgated specific
disclosure requirements governing credit transactions under the
TILA. See Regulation Z, 12 C.F.R. Part 226 (1979). Credit
disclosures which fall short of the clearly expressed
requirements of Regulation Z constitute violations of the TILA.
Mourning v. Family Publications Service, Inc., 411 U.S. 356, 93
S.Ct. 1652, 36 L.Ed.2d 318 (1973). Conversely, creditors who
comply with a "rule, regulation, or interpretation" of the
Federal Reserve Board are entitled to a good faith defense to
TILA claims. 15 U.S.C. § 1640(f). When the Act and Regulation Z
are silent, TILA claims are weighed against the primary
requirement of "meaningful disclosure." Ford Motor Credit Co. v.
Milhollin, 444 U.S. 555, 100 S.Ct. 790, 63 L.Ed.2d 22 (1980). The
Supreme Court has explained that judges must "temper judicial
creativity in the face of legislative or regulatory silence."
Milhollin, supra at 565, 100 S.Ct. at 796. Moreover, the Court in
Milhollin emphasized that:
the concept of "meaningful disclosure" that animates
TILA . . . cannot be applied in the abstract.
Meaningful disclosure does not mean more disclosure.
Rather, it describes a balance between "competing
considerations of complete disclosure . . . and the
need to avoid . . . [informational overload]."
444 U.S. at 568, 100 S.Ct. at 798. (Emphasis in original),
(Citations omitted). Accord, Ford Motor Credit Co. v. Cenance,
452 U.S. 155, 101 S.Ct. 2239, 68 L.Ed.2d 744 (1981) (per curiam).
Thus, under the TILA, creditors may be liable to their credit
customers for disclosures that do not meet the express statutory
or regulatory requirements, or for disclosures which do not
further the TILA's main concern with meaningful disclosure. Yet,
courts should be cognizant that "meaningful" disclosure does not
necessarily mean "more" disclosure, particularly when the credit
customer would not benefit materially from additional disclosure
requirements. Under this standard, we address defendants' motions
as to each of Paull's claims.
Paull's claim that the defendants did not disclose the "actual
true amount" of cash price, is most readily construed as a
contract dispute. The Retail Installment Contract signed by Paull
lists "cash price" as $13,145.87. Paull suggests that two other
different amounts represent the actual bargained-for price. But
the TILA is not intended as a vehicle for pursuing contract
claims. Moreover, if Paull is only challenging the terms of the
bargain, his contrary assertions are barred by the parol evidence
rule.*fn3 See, e.g., Anthony v. Community Loan & Investment Corp.,
559 F.2d 1363, 1369 (5th Cir. 1977); Meadows v. Charlie Wood,
Inc., 448 F. Supp. 717, 720 (M.D.Ga. 1978).
Paull nakedly asserts, however, that his claim regarding "cash
price" is based on the TILA, not contract law. In fact, the term
"cash price" has a technical meaning for purposes of the TILA.*fn4
Under Regulation Z, certain charges are properly included in
"cash price," but finance charges are not. See, e.g., Joseph v.
Norman's Health Club, Inc., 386 F. Supp. 780 (E.D.Mo. 1975). In
the present case, however, Paull has neither alleged nor produced
any evidence that the defendants included finance charges or
hidden costs of credit within the amount disclosed as "cash
price." Thus, the Court finds no basis in the record ...