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Help. Is my car deposit really non-refundable?


seetheworld1
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(I realize I posted this is the wrong forum. I'm moved it to Auto Finance.) Sorry!

 

Hi, everyone,

I’m in the process of shopping for a good preowned car and I saw one that I liked at the dealer. The Carfax looked good, test drive went well, so I put down a $500 deposit and said I’d be back when I got my DCU auto check in place. (Leaving the deposit was a mistake, I now know.) Today, three days later, I’m reading the Carfax more carefully and I see it doesn’t list the car’s service records as specified by the manufacturer’s warranty (which is still in effect). I plan to ask the dealer for those records, but I don’t think I’ll trust anything that’s supplied after the fact that should have been on the Carfax in the first place. I’ve now seen many other Carfaxes of this model of car and they do show service visits and what was done on what date. And while I find it hard to believe that the previous owner of the car I looked at didn’t make any oil changes for 28,000 miles, the lack of a record on this is a huge red flag. I just read the dealer’s buyer’s order that I signed and it says all deposits are non-refundable. Uh oh. So what recourse do I have? I’ll ask them for the service records. If they don’t have them, I absolutely will not buy the car. If they refuse to give me my refund, what are my options? The deposit was made on a credit card. And by the way, this dealer was in New Jersey. Thanks for your help!

Edited by seetheworld1
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Hi, everyone,


I’m in the process of shopping for a good preowned car and I saw one that I liked at the Volvo dealer. The Carfax looked good, test drive went well, so I put down a $500 deposit and said I’d be back when I got my DCU auto check. (Leaving the deposit was a mistake, I now know.) Today, three days later, I’m reading the Carfax more carefully and I see it doesn’t list the car’s service records as specified by the manufacturer’s warranty (which is still in effect). I plan to ask the dealer for those records, but I don’t think I’ll trust anything that’s supplied after the fact that should have been on the Carfax in the first place. I’ve now seen many other Carfaxes of this model of used car and they do show service visits and what was done on what date. And while I find it hard to believe that the previous owner of the car I looked at didn’t make any oil changes for 28,000 miles, the lack of a record of this is a huge red flag. I just read the dealer’s order that I signed and it says all deposits are non-refundable. Uh oh. So what recourse do I have? I’ll ask them for the service records, but I'm apprehensive. If they don’t have them, I absolutely will not buy the car. If they refuse to give me my refund, what are my options? The deposit was made on a credit card. And by the way, this dealer was in New Jersey. Thanks for your help!


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As mentioned a lot of places don't enter maintenance records into systems like carfax. It usually tends to be dealerships and often most people don't bring their vehicles to dealers for service. Unless the service records were left in the car the dealership is unlikely to have them. Most dealerships will give you the deposit back even if you just change your mind. The best resource would be to call the state dept. That handles these types of things may be like the Sec. Of State to find how what your legal rights are.

 

Good luck!

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You could also go to the service department of that vehicles make with the vin number. They should be able to search the history of this vehicle. Go to another dealer that sells the same make if you are not comfortable with the selling dealer.

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It's always a good idea to take the car to your mechanic for an impartial inspection before paying big money for a used car. People have actually driven new cars out of the dealer and then gone 25,000 miles without changing the oil. As you might expect, this is prone to shorten the life of the engine. Sludge is likely to be found inside the valve cover area on such an engine. In some cases it can be seen just by looking into the oil fill hole.

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If everything went well and is going well with the test drive with what you felt etc then buy the car. If you don't want it then tell them you want your deposit back. Chances are they didn't really run it anyway but you can always get your deposit back especially if you did it on a CC. Last resort cam always call your CC Company and let them know that you did not purchase anything and are not proceeding with the purchase and they will reverse it.

 

As for the CarFax...some people well most people do not get the oil changes and maintenance done at the dealer thinking they will pay too much and take it to jiffy lube or grease monkey or whatever but the truth is many times the oil changes and some services done at other places are close to the dealership prices anyway. But all dealership services are reported on carfax. Carfax is an expense and lots of places use them and lots still don't due to the high cost associated with their service.

 

Example of a car that was purchased at my dealership where the oil and filter changes are provided for free, this would give you more confidence as a consumer obviously with the number of records:

 

http://www.carfaxonline.com/cfm/Display_Dealer_Report.cfm?partner=VAU_0&UID=C477794&vin=1N4AL3AP9DN406429

 

This is a carfax of a vehicle traded at my dealership that is in perfect condition, yet basically shows the car had 3 previous owners and nothing on actual maintenance of the car. Some would be scared away of the 3 owners or in your case the lack of service records.

 

http://www.carfaxonline.com/cfm/Display_Dealer_Report.cfm?partner=VAU_0&UID=C477794&vin=1N4AA5AP6BC801369

 

All this to say the lack of records should not deter you as much as lets say accidents or damage or airbags deployed on the carfax.

 

Good luck and you have options.

 

Zic

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If everything went well and is going well with the test drive with what you felt etc then buy the car. If you don't want it then tell them you want your deposit back. Chances are they didn't really run it anyway but you can always get your deposit back especially if you did it on a CC. Last resort cam always call your CC Company and let them know that you did not purchase anything and are not proceeding with the purchase and they will reverse it.

 

As for the CarFax...some people well most people do not get the oil changes and maintenance done at the dealer thinking they will pay too much and take it to jiffy lube or grease monkey or whatever but the truth is many times the oil changes and some services done at other places are close to the dealership prices anyway. But all dealership services are reported on carfax. Carfax is an expense and lots of places use them and lots still don't due to the high cost associated with their service.

 

Example of a car that was purchased at my dealership where the oil and filter changes are provided for free, this would give you more confidence as a consumer obviously with the number of records:

 

http://www.carfaxonline.com/cfm/Display_Dealer_Report.cfm?partner=VAU_0&UID=C477794&vin=1N4AL3AP9DN406429

 

This is a carfax of a vehicle traded at my dealership that is in perfect condition, yet basically shows the car had 3 previous owners and nothing on actual maintenance of the car. Some would be scared away of the 3 owners or in your case the lack of service records.

 

http://www.carfaxonline.com/cfm/Display_Dealer_Report.cfm?partner=VAU_0&UID=C477794&vin=1N4AA5AP6BC801369

 

All this to say the lack of records should not deter you as much as lets say accidents or damage or airbags deployed on the carfax.

 

Good luck and you have options.

 

Zic

Thank you Zic! I did end up buying the car and I think I got a good deal on a great vehicle. I'm very happy.

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