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TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
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Experience:  JD, MBA
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My husband and I went to a car dealership just to LOOK at vehicles

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My husband and I went to a car dealership just to LOOK at vehicles (first mistake) at the time, we had a 2011 Ford Fiestafor which we still owed 15,000 to Santander. needless to say..they talked us into (our 2nd mistake) a Jeep Patriot for 22,000. We were upside down on our Fiesta, but got "financed" with $1000.00 down for this for a total deal of $27,000. needless to say, we drove the vehicle home. 4 weeks later they called to tell us they could not get us financed and we needed to bring the car back. (they want to try 1 more bank). They already paid off our Fiesta. So, we are going to return this car on Monday. He said we will not get anything back, and he has to talk with his legal department. After being in mortal panic for 30 seconds.....it came as a relief. I think they are going to try to talk us into a new deal. Do we have to take it? At this point...forget it....They can keep our $1000. and we all walk away and I will buy a beater. Is that an option? What are my options???? To me, this is their problem now. I am sorry they are now upside down on our car. BUT ...they do not have the capacity now to make us "whole". Thanx in advance.
Hello and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you.

All of your questions are answered by the sales contract. You do not have to do anything that the sales contract doesn't require. Typically, sales contracts for autos will state that you have to accept any reasonable financing they find. But if they cannot find any financing, then they typically cancel the sale and require the vehicle to be returned. It was stupid of them to pay off your car note before finalizing the other transaction. Unless the contract explicitly states otherwise, I think you have a good argument the dealer paid the loan at its own risk, and that you are not liable for it and have no obligation to take back that car and repay the dealer. On the other hand, if the contract states that you must take back your car and reimburse the dealer in this scenario, then that is your obligation per the contract, and the failure to do so could result in a lawsuit for breach of contract. Accordingly, you should study the contract. If the contract is silent about what happens in this situation, then I think that you would win the argument if they demand that you take back the car and reimburse it.

Does that answer your question? Please let me know if you need clarification, as I am happy to continue helping you until you are satisfied. Also, your positive feedback is much appreciated.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.


There are NO provisions regarding reimbursement..What the contract DOES SAY is:


Pursuant to the Seller’s/Lessor’s Right to Cancel provision (“Cancellation Provision”) of the documents signed between you and our dealership, we are hereby electing to cancel the transaction.


 


It is requested that you comply with the Cancellation Provision and immediately return the vehicle to the dealership. When the vehicle is returned, we will refund the cash down payment and/or trade-in vehicle(s) given by you to us, subject to the terms of the Purchase Agreement/Buyers Order."


 


If they have a new deal i.e. wanting us to pay more down or pay more interest...we do NOT HAVE to sign it correct? Would we be entittled to our $1000 back? Because I have a conscience and a moral compass...I beleive they should keep half for use of the vehicle for a month.


 


Thank you in advance...


 

Hi again.

The way I understand the what you quoted, you must return the vehicle, and they must give you the $1000 and your trade-in vehicle. The only issue is that the loan on the trade-in vehicle was already paid.

If I were you, I'd probably take the $1000 and tell them to keep the trade-in and sell it since they paid it off. The other alternative would be to take back the trade-in, but they'd have to find you financing for it with the same terms (or better) than what you were already paying on the note that they foolishly paid off. That would be the way to make you whole. But that is unlikely. I suspect that they may tell you that you need to pay them in a lump sum the amount of the note that they paid off (i.e., force you to get a new loan at possibly worse terms so that you can repay them). I would not accept that possibility since it is their fault that this problem exists. Moreover, you have no contractual obligation to do that since the contract is silent on that issue. Also, you have no obligation to accept a deal where you pay more down or more interest (unless the contract states it).

But the first step in resolving this issue is to talk to the dealer to see what they suggest for fixing this problem. They may be very cooperative and offer to resolve it favorably for you.
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