My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.
If the $1,000 was given to them to hold the car and not sell it to anyone else until the terms of the sale were agreed, that is an entirely separate contract
from the purchase and sale agreement. That means that, as long as they held the car and didn't sell it to anyone else during the negotiations, they are unfortunately entitled to keep that $1,000. They fulfilled their obligations under the agreement.
That's the general rule of holding deposits. However, it could be considered unfair and deceptive for them to say "Sure, we'll give you $3,000" to get you to put down a deposit and then change their minds. If you signed anything that doesn't mention the $3,000 agreement, it could be a violation of Fl. Stat., Section 501.976(9) which says that it is unfair and deceptive to "Obtain signatures from a customer on contracts that are not fully completed at the time the customer signs or which do not reflect accurately the negotiations and agreement between the customer and the dealer." If you signed the piece of paper that designated the wrong vehicle, that could also be a violation.
If you would prefer not to go to court, there are a few things you could try first. You may want to consider talking to the owner/manager if you have not already done so. I might also think about sending BMW a letter - I feel like they might be interested to know that dealerships are offering personal loans
to people to get them to leave deposits, then keeping the money. On top of that, you can ask the Attorney General
to investigate their sales practices. The other option is to have a lawyer send them a certified demand letter, asking them to return the deposit to avoid going to court. You may also be able to recover your attorney's fees from them.
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