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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    4

    Default Dealer Will Not Return My Deposit

    My question involves a consumer law issue in the State of: Maine

    My wife and I went car shopping last week. We went to Dealer A. She was interested in a new SUV, and test drove one. We came to an agreement on a price, but the only thing we did not like was the color of the car. The salesman told us that he was going to check other dealerships to see if they could find one that was not silver. They called a few dealerships and said that they couldn't find one yet but they would let us know by 8:00 that night or first thing the next morning. The salesman told us we needed to make a deposit of $500. I specifically asked him that if we didn't like or want the car that they got from another dealership at that point, what would happen, and he said they would refund our deposit. I paid him with my debit card and he said he would call us.

    By 11:00 the next morning, we had not heard anything from them. I called the dealership and asked for the salesman and they told us he had the day off. I told them that we were supposed to recieve a call from them about our car, and they said that they would have someone call me. I picked my wife up at work and she was disappointed that they had not called. We were driving by another dealership in South Portland called Dealer B, and we pulled in. They had the car that we wanted there. While we were at Dealer B, the salesman from Dealer A texted me and said they found a car and that "our payment was going to go down significantly because it doesn't have all those accessories." To make a long story short, we ended up buying the car from Dealer B because the car at Dealer A was not what we wanted. I called the salesman and let him know and told him I wanted by deposit back. He said I could come in and get it back.

    I just went to Dealer A to get the deposit back and was told that they will not give it to me. I have a reciept for the deposit and no where on it does it say it is non refundable. The sales manager was really rude and unprofessional, and then the owner came out and told me flat out that I was not going to get a dime of my money back and called me a liar.

    It was my fault for giving them the deposit in the first place, but I want to know if I have legal legs to stand on to bring this to small claims court or to show the owner to get him to give me my money back.

    Thanks for the help in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Key West, FL
    Posts
    2,350

    Default Re: Dealer Will Not Return My Deposit

    First, never make such a payment with a debit card.

    With a credit card, you can do a chargeback and let the credit card company decide who is right. Usually it is the card holder who wins.

    You can do a chargeback on a debit card, but you have to cancel the card and it is a big hassle.

    You paid a deposit. But what was the agreement or paperwork for the deposit say? What was the deposit for? If they did not meet those terms, then you are entitled to the deposit back.

    There also has to be state law that regulates the dealings of auto dealers which you should research. I would bet it has provisions on deposits.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Dealer Will Not Return My Deposit

    You have every right to get your deposit back. They may try to pay hard ball but they cannot keep it. You should have signed a buyers order. Doesn't matter..They can not keep your deposit. I would call the credit card company and put it in dispute, but I would demand to talk to the owner as well..They are just mad, but have no leg to stand on.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    1,853

    Default Re: Dealer Will Not Return My Deposit

    You will need to convince them that it will cost them more than the $500 they're trying to rip you off for if they don't give you your deposit. They'll have to make a court appearance at the very least, and will likely incur other costs. You will, of course, complain loudly to the manufacturer whose cars they sell. You will complain until you have your money, or you will sue them in small claims court, but you will most certainly get your money. Go at them with that attitude and you'll get your money, but you'll have to be willing to follow through. You might want to get advice from the other dealer as well. Pitting one Chevy dealer against another (or whatever brand) might not be a bad strategy either.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Dealer Will Not Return My Deposit

    Thanks for the advise. I am definately willing to follow through and get my money back. Last night I found on the State of Maine website that the Secretary of State has an investigative department for situations like this, and I contacted the Deputy Secretary of State and got an email back from her at 10:00 last night saying that she thought our story was awful and that they would do what they could to get my money back. Thanks again for the help.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    North East
    Posts
    1,888

    Default Re: Dealer Will Not Return My Deposit

    When a car dealer has a vehicle on there lot they actually buy that vehicle from the manufacture, it is not on there lot under consignment.

    So lets say that someone went to a Chevrolet dealer to buy a 2010 suburban and the dealer didn't have a white one in stock but the buyer wanted white because they didn't like any other color on his lot.

    The dealer needs to find a white one from another dealer and buy it from them, this is called a "dealer swap" and happens every single day.

    The dealers will work out two ways of doing a dealer swap. We will call the dealer that wants the white suburban for a new customer dealer A and the dealer that has the white suburban dealer B.

    One way is if dealer B only has one white suburban in stock is for dealer A to buy the white suburban at dealer cost plus a small fee from dealer B. Then dealer A will have to send a rollback tow truck to dealer B to pick the white suburban up and transport it back to dealer A. This cost could range from $50.00 to a few hundred dollars depending on the distance between dealers.

    Now if dealer B has 3 white suburban's in stock and can't move any of them and none in silver and dealer A has two silver in stock they could always swap these two suburban's out and dealer A will just pay the transportation fee to swap the two SUV's.

    Now if the customer that wanted a white suburban put a $500 deposit down so dealer A could find and order a white suburban but then the customer then ventures off and finds a white suburban elsewhere, why should dealer A return the $500.00 deposit to the customer being that they are now out not only time for the salesman but fee's that the transportation company has charged to them for the dealer swap.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    73,787

    Default Re: Dealer Will Not Return My Deposit

    If the dealer doesn't have a contract obligating the customer to buy the car, let alone where the dealer has merely promised to try to find a car that meets the customer's specifications, there is no sale. If the dealer wants to enter into a contract under which the deposit is forfeit if the customer changes his mind about buying the car, or guaranteeing the dealership a certain amount of time to locate a vehicle before the customer can get his money back, it's the dealership's responsibility to get it in writing.

    The dealer is a business, staffed by professionals. If they don't know how to secure a non-refundable deposit, or choose not to do so, that's their fault and not the customer's.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Dealer Will Not Return My Deposit

    AND the original dealership couldn't find the right vehicle. They tried to give him one without accessories. The dealer does swaps all day long. This not about money, they are just mad they lost the sale. Mr. K is right. They should have put it on paper with the a non-refundable deposit before doing anything. They dropped the ball with poor salesmenship..

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Dealer Will Not Return My Deposit

    My thinking..they did NOT get in touch with you within a timely manner in addition to not fulfilling your needs..GO FOR IT..BLAST THEM! If need be go online to BBB of Maine and tell these losers that! They'll respond pretty darn quick!

    Good Luck...Enjoy your new car!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Dealer Will Not Return My Deposit

    To whose that guy, I understand what you are saying about the dealer swap. However, I was told my deposit would be refundable if I didn't like the car. If they had said the deposit was not refundable, I wouldn't have given them one. Also if they had called me when they said they would, or came up with the same car with the same package of accessories, I would have bought the car there. Thanks for the responses everyone!

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