Best recovery from a bad car deal?
October 15, 2009 6:43 PM Subscribe
Just over two weeks ago a young friend bought used car from a dealer who's 80 miles away. The car came with serious engine problems. The dealer says they'll take it back for a refund but won't return the full price she paid. They say they'll keep their costs, but won't even discuss on the phone the amount they'll return. How best can she get all her money back?
posted by anadem to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My friend paid with cash and check. When she found the repair would cost a bit more than the check she gave, she put a hold on the check. But the dealer has the pink slip, so she has no title to the car and the dealer is threatening repossession because of the hold on the check.
The deal included a three month guarantee of engine and drivetrain, but the engine problem is a bad timing belt which is not covered by the g'tee. And the guarantee company say they have no record of the guarantee she has (checking the serial number) perhaps because the dealer didn't register it, or maybe just because it takes more than a couple of weeks to go through.
What options does my friend have? This is in California. The dealer is Rush Motors in Fremont. Should she return the car then take the dealer to small claims court? Would standing in the street outside the dealer at the weekend with a suitable sign help them decide to give a full refund? Is a lawyer the best option?
Some background: I looked at the car ('92 VW Passat) with her before she bought it. The engine made a noise which Radwan (the salesman at Rush Motors) said was because a hydraulic adjuster on the timing chain needed pumping up. I suggested it might be timing belt noise but Radwan and his sidekick insisted the car had a timing chain not a belt. Radwan said he'd get the adjuster fixed, and my friend went back two days later and bought the car (the noise was temporarily gone). The noise returned later that day, and she had the local VW dealer here identify the problem.
The car cost $5800 (I think) of which $4500 was paid in cash and $1300 as check. The repairs are estimated at $2300. My guess is (since these are such slimeballs) they will try to keep at least $1000 of her money, but maybe I'm unduly negative.