Used Car Deposit

by Karen
(Buffalo, NY)

Question: On or about 9/14/10 I with my 16 year old son put a deposit of $500.00 cash down on a used car he wanted at a dealership. We received a receipt and were told the money is refundable.

I am in the process of refinancing my home and cannot co sign a loan right now so the dealership has been holding the car for about 2 1/2 weeks. I called to let them know we would not be able to take the car.

No one is getting back to me about the refund.

Please advise what the next step should be and what my rights are as a parent.

Answer: Hi Karen,

My first suggestion would be to keep trying to call the dealership. If the sales manager is not returning calls, try the general manager. If that doesn't work, then try the owner. Keep trying until you get someone.

If for whatever reason you are still not able to get someone on the phone, then go down there in person. It's only $500 and the dealership should have no problem cutting you a check for the money back.

There's really no reason they should try to keep it and I'd expect that as soon as you can get in touch with someone you should be able to have a check that day or by the next.

If once you finally do get in touch with the right person they are not willing to give you a refund, then you may want to contact your states Motor Vehicle Division and speak with someone in whatever department might handle dealer complaints.

You can also try the Attorney Generals office if it is still not resolved after these steps.

I can't see it going this far, but small claims court would be your final option.

As I mentioned before, I can't see any reason they'd keep your used car deposit and I'm sure once you are able to get someone on the phone or better, face to face, you should have a refund check issued fairly quick.

Hope this helps,

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