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I am sorry to hear about the trouble you are having with the dealer.
You should go into the dealer, say that you are not purchasing their vehicle (Or, leasing it) and insist that they return the vehicle that you used as a trade-in. The dealer had no business using a figure he found on your credit report as the pay-off figure. The correct way to obtain a pay-off figure is to contact the lender, ask for a pay-off as of that day and also ask for a "per diem" interest rate. In other words, the dealer would get a pay-off amount as of a certain date and if the loan was not paid off on that date, the dealer would multiply the number of days by the per diem interest rate and get a current and correct payoff amount.
Even if you had read the paperwork before you signed, ask yourself, would you really know the exact amount which was the payoff figure for your leased car ? I know I would not know it, nor am I expected to know it because that is not my job, that is the dealer's job.
As for not having your trade-in vehicle in his possession any more, that is totally the dealer's fault. You are not the only individual who has had this experience. Dealer's are so anxious to sell or lease their vehicles and make their commission, that they ignore all the loose ends they have left and they allow the buyer to drive off the lot, only to have to call the buyer and ask that he return the vehicle. This practice has become so wide spread, that the Attorneys General of many States have come out and said that until the total transaction, including the financing of the vehicle being purchased or leased, is completed, the dealer should not sell, transfer, convey, or "ship out" a buyer's vehicle that was used as a trade-in.
You had a right to rely on the figures the dealer initially was working with and you should not have to come up with more money that you had not anticipated you would be needing, just to satisfy the dealer. Just stand your ground, insist that he return your vehicle, and how he does this will be totally up to him because he had no business shipping it out of his showroom. He may not have even shipped it and he may still have it; he might just be telling you a story to intimidate you enough to go through with their deal. Insist that he return your vehicle and if he does not, tell him that you will file a formal Complaint with both the Federal Trade Commission which is the Federal consumer's "watchdog" and protector and you will file a formal Complaint with the Maryland State Attorney General's Office. You may file these formal Complaints online. If you click on the links below, it will take you to their Official websites where you can file the formal Complaint and will give you all their contact information,
Maryland State Attorney General - http://www.oag.state.md.us/Consumer/complaint.htm
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The dealer has not incurred any substantial costs and the only thing he would be losing is the commission from the transaction. But, if the dealer is smart and business oriented, he will absorb any costs that he may have incurred to keep a customer happy and create goodwill. I have found from personal experience that if I insist on what I want, let the dealer know that I will not take "No" for an answer, and that it makes good business sense to keep me a happy customer, the dealer will accommodate my requests. The key to negotiating a good deal is to show that you cannot be intimidated, that you know what your rights are and will not take every statement the dealer makes as gospel. This can be successfully accomplished by always having a backup plan. If he does not give you the deal you want, or will not return your traded in vehicle intact, then tell the dealer that you will file a formal Complaint with both the Maryland Attorney General's Office and the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC will quickly put the dealer in his place because, and as I previously state, the dealer had no right to dispose of your vehicle in any manner until the transaction and its financing were completed in every way. The dealer's tactic is not new, they often use it to coerce the buyer into completing the transaction even though it is not the transaction which the customer contemplated or expected, and one that the customer can ill afford.
You are very welcome,
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