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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    5

    Default Porsche Dealership: Can't Get My Deposit Back

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

    Hi,
    After the Cayman R unveiling in Nov, I was pretty excited and gave my dealer in Alabama a $1000 deposit for a custom build order from Germany. The piece of paper given back to me stated:

    “The purchaser signing below agrees that a deposit in the amount of $1000 is being applied to the agreed selling price of a 2012 Porsche Cayman R. This deposit will secure a located vehicle **OR** will secure an order for production to be delivered at a future date. Deposits are non-refundable unless the vehicle is not delivered as ordered. Vehicle will be free of damage and will be in the color and equipment listed on the original purchase order.”

    When the dealer received the Cayman R (CR) build allocation (2 weeks ago), they called me and I went in and told them I wanted to cancel (various reasons). We never used the configurator and a final price was never discussed at any time. My configuration was never submitted to the factory in Germany. Now, the dealer will not return my $1000 deposit. The dealer has always stated that they were going to get one and only one CR build allocation regardless of my interest. It was only after I wanted to cancel that the salesperson brought up a story that someone had come in and asked for a custom order CR and was told I had the only one. I do not believe this – it was never mentioned to me.

    I was thinking about small claims court and would appreciate any feedback. This is my first time dealing with a Porsche dealer. Do I have a leg to stand on?

    thanks

    The ONLY paper documentation i have is a single peice of photocopied paper. It has a photocopy of my check on the top and the above language in my original post at the bottom. It has no other language. I signed it and the salesperson signed it. There is no other documentation. We never got to the point of sitting down in front of the configurator and submitting an order to the factory. We never discussed the final price. I have no other written documentation.

    Some more interesting info. At the very start (before i gave them $), i mentioned in passing that i would probably not add the AC back in. They said nothing. At some later point in time, after giving them deposit but before i mentioned cancelling, they stated that a car with no AC would require an additional $10,000 deposit BEFORE order is placed. I did not really say anything at that time.

    Also, I did ask them several times when could we negotiate price and they of course stated that that was not possible until their build allocation had come in. Then we could sit in front of computer, configure the car, haggle back and forth, agree on a final price and then submit the order to the factory. So there never was an agreed to price.

    I concede that i may not have a case - i signed a piece of paper stating nonrefundable so i am in a bit of trouble - legally speaking. My only comment is this. They said they were going to get a CR allocation regardless of me walking in the door. Lets assume no one else asked for it. What hardship have i placed on the dealer? Me taking the CR order did not change their business one bit. However, if they did indeed get another customer in and they told them a CR was not available and if that customer is now no longer interested, then yes, I concede that i have caused them hardship and should forfeit my deposit. But how can i tell if they are being honest? I just don't beleive them. Do i have a right to ask for proof that someone came in and was turned away? Otherwise they are just taking my $ without any reason.

    I will try talk to the general manager or owner tonight. I would prefer not to go to small claims court. I probably would not win.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: Porsche Dealership: Can't Get My Deposit Back

    $1k deposit...and they accepted it?

    unless they do not fulfill the contract as written, the deposit is theirs. If you didn't want to agree to the contract you did, you shouldn't have signed it.

    Also, I did ask them several times when could we negotiate price and they of course stated that that was not possible until their build allocation had come in. Then we could sit in front of computer, configure the car, haggle back and forth, agree on a final price and then submit the order to the factory. So there never was an agreed to price.
    Basically, what you purchased was an option to buy with them applying the option money to the purchase.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Porsche Dealership: Can't Get My Deposit Back

    Quote Quoting jk
    View Post
    $1k deposit...and they accepted it?

    unless they do not fulfill the contract as written, the deposit is theirs. If you didn't want to agree to the contract you did, you shouldn't have signed it.



    Basically, what you purchased was an option to buy with them applying the option money to the purchase.
    ok - i think i agree and will probably not fight it - it was my mistake

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Porsche Dealership: Can't Get My Deposit Back

    I spoke to the general manager (GM) last night on the phone. He stated that he would keep my $1000 deposit. He was polite and so was i. He said that he would take my $1000 into consideration if i ever bought another car in the future i.e. he would try help me out on the price. I actually think that is a nice gesture even if it means nothing. He said he will keep my deposit because if he loses more money (e.g. $5000) on the car, he has no legal recourse with me – he cannot sue me to get the $5000 loss back.

    So, after this phone conversation I think i am leaning towards small claims. The reasoning is as follows - feel free to critique
    I have absolutely no problem letting them keep my $1000 deposit. I was the one who backed out of the deal. However, to be logical and fair, I will ONLY let them keep the deposit if they PROVE that they lost money on the car. What if they make a nice little profit on the car with the eventual buyer? What if they are able to sell the car to another dealer and make a profit even with shipping costs? Maybe a purchaser in CA or some other state will be willing to pay for shipping costs. Why are they keeping my $1000 if they make a profit?

    So I would ask the judge to hold the $1000 in escrow until the sale completes with the future buyer. If they can prove they lost money on the sale then they should absolutely get my deposit – that is only fair. If they do NOT lose any money then i should get my deposit back – that is fair. Unfortunately, they could use creative accounting to show a loss – cost of car taking up lot space, cost of periodic car washes etc.

    Is this thinking fair? I have tried to think in terms of "what if i was the dealer?". I would not be happy that the buyer is just walking away - now i am stuck with a CR that i may not have ordered. I would be worried that i will take a loss. But if the buyer said: "if you lose money on it, by all means keep my money" i would probably think that is fair. If I were the dealer I would probably think that if I get rid of the car with no loss, the original buyer should get their deposit back.

    The fact that the GM simply wants to keep my money even if he makes a profit on the car is really what I am having trouble with. It does not seem reasonable.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: Porsche Dealership: Can't Get My Deposit Back

    I will ONLY let them keep the deposit if they PROVE that they lost money on the car.
    Not a requirement of your contract.

    So I would ask the judge to hold the $1000 in escrow until the sale completes with the future buyer.
    again, not a requirement of your contract.

    If they can prove they lost money on the sale then they should absolutely get my deposit – that is only fair.
    What would be fair is you abide by your contract.

    Why are they keeping my $1000 if they make a profit?
    because that is what you agreed to.

    The fact that the GM simply wants to keep my money even if he makes a profit on the car is really what I am having trouble with. It does not seem reasonable.
    Irrelevant. Your contract was: You pay a deposit that allowed you to purchase a very limited issue vehicle. As I said before, if you look at it as an option to purchase, it makes more sense. You are trying to look at it as they must experience damages to be able to keep the deposit. Your contract clearly states the right to retain the deposit should you choose not to exercise your right to purchase the vehicle. You agreed to it.

    Again, what is reasonable, in my opinion, is you abide by a contact you willingly signed.

    Small claims is cheap so even if you lost it wouldn't add that much to your losses.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Porsche Dealership: Can't Get My Deposit Back

    OK - i see your points. What I discuss above is not in the contract and so maybe irrelevant.
    But what about this: the contract states:

    "...a deposit in the amount of $1000 is being applied to the agreed selling price..."

    Both of us did not know what that would be as the website configurator was not yet operational when i signed. The delaer simply said, before i signed, that they would be able to take "a little" off whatever the MSRP of my configuration of the car turned out to be. So neither of us knew what the agreed selling price would be.

    Does this make the contract null and void?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: Porsche Dealership: Can't Get My Deposit Back

    What it meant is that once you had agreed to a price, they would credit you with the $1000.

    Obviously if prices and build options were not available, they could not negotiate a price at the time.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Porsche Dealership: Can't Get My Deposit Back

    Well - this has been very difficult. I can see both sides. I was the one who backed out. They didn't do anything wrong. But if they make a profit off some future buyer, i should get my money back. In the end, i've decided not to do anything - they can keep my deposit. I decided that i will probably go back to this dealer in the future. Also, i guess i don't want the hassle of a small claims case - life is too short. Mostly, i guess it's because i feel they didn't do anything wrong.

    thanks for all the advice - this is a great community
    bocon

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