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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 102145
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Can a car dealer keep my deposit if I change my mind on buying

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Can a car dealer keep my deposit if I change my mind on buying the car? The car dealer stated that he had to pick up my car from another city in the state of Georgia and he said that he needed a $500 deposit. So he asked for my credit card number. He also stated that when I get the car it will have 200 miles on it from transporting it back. He asked if that was ok and I said yes. After thinking about my initial decision I changed my mind because I did not want all the miles on the car. So I called the dealer back and asked for my money back. Mind you I did not sign a contract and the dealer never stated that my deposit was non refundable. Do I have the right to get my money back?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Ely replied 7 years ago.

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Did you sign any type of contract yet?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Expert:  Ely replied 7 years ago.
Oh, you did say that in your question, didn't you. Well, it's arguable both ways. On your side, you were paying for the car, not a deposit. On his side, you were paying a deposit, and it is lawfully nonrefundable. It's really a toss up since nothing was signed, so what you have to do is to file a PETITION FOR DECLARATORY JUDGMENT with small claims court. A Declaratory Judgment is a judgment by the Court that interprets confusing situations and contracts and declares the rights, duties, or obligations of said situation. In short, it’s a kind of petition which basically says "Judge, here is what happened, now it’s a mess and not clear, so can you please fill in the blanks for us with what is contractually fair and legally equitable and make everyone bound by it?"Just go to your local small claims court to file - it's quite easy. They should have a blank petition, which you would entitle PETITION FOR DECLARATORY JUDGMENT and then write out what happened in summary form, making sure to include all important facts. Serve the other party (the clerk will tell you how – it’s pretty easy – just a certified letter most of the time) and a quick hearing will be held in a few weeks later. Then, well – it's up to the Judge.The good thing is that half the time, when the opposing party gets served, they either will contact you and offer a compromise or just give up, because people are both (1) afraid of the legal system and (2) do not have the time and money to deal with an issue.

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