How do I know if the car dealer "really" cancelled my buyer's agreement?
May 19, 2014 5:39 PM   Subscribe

Made a few mistakes in signing under pressure on a car purchase. Never had possession of the vehicle and was due to finalize payment the following day. In the meantime, I realized that the dealer did not give me my copy of the purchasing agreement and began to worry that the verbal assurances they gave me about the car's certification and warranty were not on the contract. The next morning (today), I return to the dealer, request my copy and confirm my fears. I demanded that they cancel the contract, which they did, but now I am wondering if it is "really" cancelled.

Went to check out cars yesterday. After hours of test driving and hand wringing, I made a bad decision to sign on a vehicle under pressure. I was paying in cash (left a deposit) and the agreement was to process the final paperwork and payment today. I never had possession of the car - the keys were never given to me.

I the (big) mistake of signing on the dotted line before the dealer put their verbal promises about the certification and warranty in writing. They told me the (used) car was certified and that I would be entitled to a year of bumper to bumper coverage at no additional cost. But this was not on the contract. I also made the big mistake of leaving the dealership without my copy of the purchase agreement. They did not give it to me and I was evidently too tired and emotionally exhausted to do my due diligence.

I realized these rather grave oversights last night and did a bit more research on the dealer. Turns out many consumers complained of their bait and switch maneuvers, specifically with regard to lies about warranty coverage.

This morning I went back to the dealer and requested my copy of the purchasing agreement. The manager was happy to give it to me. I noted right away that it did not include the promises made about the car being certified and having an extended warranty included in the price.

The manager left the room, came back and told me the car was not sold to me with the warranty. I insisted that this was untrue, pulled out my notes from my meeting with his sales team, which clearly outlined the warranty coverage they told me was included in the price of the car.

The manager excused himself again, returned and asked: "So if the warranty is not included, you don't want it?" "Absolutely not," I explained, pointing out that the verbal agreements were made by multiple salespeople, that I told them clearly that I would not buy the car without such a warranty in the price discussed. There was some going back and forth, but when I said "Cancel this deal," the manager readily agreed.

I asked to have the purchasing agreement shredded, which they initially agreed to do, but then said they needed to retain while they process my reimbursement for the deposit. They claimed that since the deposit already went down to the Accounting Department, that they could not immediately reimburse me, and it might take a few days. I told the manager that this was unacceptable. He promised to speed up the process and get me the reimbursement within 48 hours. I told him I would need that in writing.

In the end, I had the manager send me an email from his dealer address clearly stating that the contract was cancelled and that the reimbursement would be processed within 48 hours. I stayed in his office until I received the email. While he did not shred the contract, he wrote "VOID" across it and stated in his email that "We cancelled the deal on [vehicle year make and model]".

I am feeling pretty stressed out now, wondering if I should have insisted that they tear up the contract. From a legal standpoint, should I be worried about this? Does the email from the manager saying "the deal for XYZ vehicle was cancelled" and the "VOID" written by the manager on the original copy of the contract suffice to prove that the dealer agreed to cancelling this contract?
posted by Gray Skies to Law & Government (8 answers total)
If you have it in writing, it'll look great in court. Give it 48 hours.
posted by oceanjesse at 5:51 PM on May 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

From a legal standpoint, should I be worried about this?

In my experience, those things are mostly psychological - the contract has a bunch of outs, anyway, like if financing should fall through, etc. - that if push came to shove, you could use one of them to get out of having to buy the car. Besides, they are in the business of selling cars, not newspapers, and you can imagine how little business sense it makes for them to sue you over a deal like this.

I think you will be fine. Don't sweat it.

They might try to screw around with your deposit, because "once you have their money, never give it back", but I think they'd be dumb to do that.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 5:59 PM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Sounds to me like you definitely canceled it and the email in particular will ensure your refund.
posted by vegartanipla at 7:34 PM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

You have a contract with the dealer to void your previous contract. You have excellent evidence for this contract in the form of the manager's email. They have little to gain at this point, and their story about needing time to process the refund is plausible. Car dealers can be scummy, but generally not in the way that you are worried about. I think you have very little to worry about. Wait for 48 hours.
posted by skewed at 8:01 PM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

In my previous job (nothing to do with selling cars) I would sometimes encounter demands that the documents that a person had provided be destroyed once they no longer wanted our services. In truth, it may not be reasonable to expect this - we needed to hang on to the paperwork in case there were queries in the future. If the dealership have banked your money, that will presumably show up in their financial records and they need some documentation to show where the money came from, even if they then refunded it. I think skewed is right that you now have a contract to void your previous contract, and that should be enough.
posted by Cheese Monster at 8:39 PM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

[did you get your money?]
posted by oceanjesse at 4:43 PM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Update: 5 days later: I received one of the two reimbursements they owe me. Hoping that the second one is being processed..
posted by Gray Skies at 8:10 PM on May 23, 2014

Final update: I ended up getting my two reimbursements. Filed a fraud claim with my bank while everything was sorted out, which was nice because it meant I didn't suffer financially in the process. The whole thing took about two weeks.
posted by Gray Skies at 6:36 PM on July 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

« Older Oh, just get over it!   |   Help us buy a new front door. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.