Getting a Refund from a Car Dealership

We receive calls almost daily from individuals who bought used cars that turned out to be crap.  Usually, the potential clients tell us one of two scenarios:  1.  He/she attempted to get a refund, but the dealership said, “No.”  2.  He/she attempted to get a refund, and the dealership is trying to work with them, but the refund offers don’t seem fair.

My number one rule that I tell everyone is this, “A Dealership will NEVER work with you in a way that won’t be financially beneficial to the dealership.”  In other words, if you, as the consumer, try to work with the dealership to give the car back, you will lose in some manner.  The only difference between a really bad dealer and a not so bad dealer, is how much you will lose.  Even when we get involved, as attorneys who have been doing this for a long time and know all of the tricks, the dealerships still try to screw our clients when agreeing to a refund.  So, how do we stop this from happening?  Here are some rules to follow:

  1.  Assume that a dealership will make it as hard as possible to refund the vehicle.
  2. Assumer that a dealership’s first offer for a refund will always be the worst option.
  3. Pay attention to what the dealership is offering.  There is a difference between taking the car back and paying off your car loan.
  4. Be sure you are either getting back your trade in vehicle or the equal value.
  5. If the vehicle is offering to put you in another vehicle, it is probably a piece of crap as well.

If you are able to follow these basic rules, you will stand a better chance of getting a fair deal with the dealership.  However, remember, the dealerships are trained to win, alway be skeptical.

One issue you may run into is whether the vehicle can be repaired for less than the refund amount.  This is a legal principle that compares repair value with refund/replacement value.  Basically, if the vehicle can be repaired for less than a refund, then even a court of law won’t force a refund.  Therefore, it is always helpful to have an estimate of repairs for the vehicle before you start negotiating a refund with a dealership.  Additionally, never agree to let the dealership estimate the cost of repairs. You can guarantee that estimate will always be less than the refund.

Before you attempt a refund on your own, call an experienced attorney.  The refund negotiations may come back to haunt you if you try it yourself. It is better to get a trained pofessional involved from the beginning and may eliminate a number of headaches.

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