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Tips on Buying Cars/Dealership standards?


QUESTION: Hello Roger,

This past thurs I went to purchase a car from a dealership. Because of credit issues I was unable to put the car in my name. We were told that it could be put into my mothers name even though she doesn't have a license (due to suspension). She put money down and was told that she needed to get a license in order to get tags. Now they've called us saying if she doesnt get a license by monday then we would have to take the car back but they would keep the money she put down. I just want to know if you his is standard and if they can do this. No one told us we had to bring a license back to the dealer, we were only told to get it for the tags which we have 30 days to do. Btw we're in Macon, GA. Any insight on this situation would be great. thanks.

ANSWER: Dashia,

On the Amtrak on my phone so I will be brief ...the answer is that you must have a  license to buy a car from a dealer whether you pay cash or what they should have done was found a way too put you both on the loan and paperwork. They have violated the rules ...not sure if its georgia law or not but I would think it what does that  mean means that they cant ethically or legally sell you a car the way they have tried. They can ask you to rerun the car if your mom isn't able to get her license reinstated so the back will fund the loan but under NO CIRCUMSTANCES CAN THEY KEEP YOUR DOWN PAYMENT ....Ask as many follow ups as you want

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you so much. I thought the same. So what measures if any would I need to take to fight this. Is it a matter of court or simply disputing when we go back to the dealer. I just want to have as many corners covered as possible  because I know how low down some dealers can be.

My week on the island is over and now back hard at it. ... Hi Dashia...

Since I have been gone last week I will assume that this question is still front burner stuff and if that's the case then this is what you need to do...

1. I would start out by documenting and memorializing the events that have already occurred up to this point in a letter to the dealer principle. The dealer principal is the person whose name appears on the dealer license with DMV in your state you can usually find this information out by going to the DMV website and checking dealer licensing or business registration. I would be glad to help you write this letter if you need some ideas. But essentially you're going to say what's happened so far, you're going to tell the dealer that this is a violation of the Georgia unfair trade practices act and a gaggle of other states and federal laws and that if they are unable to obtain financing on your behalf your mother's behalf then you will gladly return the vehicle at which time you would expect to pick up the check for the amount of your down payment and any other monies paid to that point and will have a rescission agreement already in your hot little hand signed and ready for him to sign with rescinds the original contract. At the end of the letter I would explain to the dealer exactly what you expect him to do on your behalf. The key to writing these letters is to be both matter-of-fact and unemotional. No matter what don't let them get you to lose your temper or to start swearing at him calling him names or anything else he can use as a reason in his own head to try to hang on to your money. I would make sure that you include a date in the next 24 to 72 hours after the letter is sent that is a deadline for the dealer to respond one way or the other.

2. Once you have that letter written and I would do it sooner rather than later I would call the dealership and get the dealer principals direct e-mail address and fax number and I would e-mail the letter and fax the letter and send the letter first-class mail return receipt requested.

3. Once the due date and time roll around if you haven't heard anything I would call... Don't go in and try to make contact with the boss not the sales manager not the salesman but the general manager or the owner of the store. If they decide to ignore you or slow dance you which I don't think they will then I would send a second and final letter by fax and e-mail letting him know that the time for him to act has come and gone and your next action is going to be to include the Department of Motor Vehicles, violent Atty. Gen. complaint, retain your own attorney, and begin to actively post on every single car buying forum and review site you can find in your area all of the details of your experience doing business with this dealer. In this day and age a dealer's reputation is more important than ever before and bad reviews and online stories detailing your bad experience and their lack of response will cost him car deals... Don't forget ripoff report... But save it for last because once you've written it you can never go back and delete it.

4. I seriously doubt that you will get this far but just know that there are and dealers everywhere and it's possible that you will have to take action to have your money extracted from him through the courts or a strongly worded letter from an attorney.

5. As soon as you are told that the deal is not going to go through and that they are unable to obtain financing is important that you take the car back and drop it off in hand somebody the keys.... Get their name and leave. It's hard to argue that the dealer will give you your money back when you're still driving his car.

By going to the owner.... The person with the large investment at risk and not dealing with the commission-based Johnny lunchmeat's on the sales floor you will most likely receive a more professional response and treatment.   

Let me know if you want help with the letter and at the very least I would e-mail a copy over to my personal e-mail at before you send it and give me a chance to give it a quick read and edit. I am back in from a computer in the snow plans to go anywhere else for a while and can turn right around here within a few minutes.

Ask all the follow-ups you want to get your money back

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Roger Alvey


I can answer any question about the car buying process. I am a recognized industry expert on all issues regarding auto finance, including sub prime and buy here pay here financing, I can answer questions about car lock out systems, GPS monitoring by your bank, and about auto recovery methods and defenses. I am a 20 yr car industry expert and can tell you what to look for in a used car, how to negotiate the deal, help with how to market your own car, and how to negotiate with the internet department of any car store. I can tell you every single way the dealer is set up to beat you and how to avoid those traps, I can discuss all aftermarket and extended service contract products you will be offered in the finance process, I have lectured extensively on "The Best Way to Buy a Car" to civic groups and university students. I am a credit expert and can tell you what the dealer and banks are looking for and the rate you can expect to pay. HERE IS THE LINK TO MY OTHER ALLEXPERTS CATEGORIES WHERE I HAVE ANSWERED LOTS OF QUESTIONS HERE IS A LINK TO MY BLOG


20 years industry experience in top management of dealerships and dealer groups. Recognized industry expert since 2004 in the Top 10 industry experts for The Gerson Lehrman Groups Auto Industry Council. I also do consulting work for Atheneum Partners, Expert 360, Expert Connect and Coleman Research. I have been a franchise owner and understand all facets of the auto industry from the time the car leaves the factory until it leaves the lot with it's new owner. I have written training materials for both the prime and the subprime sales and finance process.

NADA, OADA, NFIB, State Certified Used Car Appraiser

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Willamette University - Salem Oregon BA Economics Willamette University Graduate School of Business - Econometrics Statistics

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