Another Car Thread - Why not?

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Hello FWF,

I need your opinion on how to proceed.

I shopped around for a new car recently and got some quotes from different dealers by emails and phone calls.

A local dealer had the color I wanted who came close to the pricing from others.

He had the car advertised on their website, under new cars, with VIN number, a stock picture and 10 miles as the odometer reading.

Based on that I put down a deposit of $500 on the credit card and asked them when the car would be ready (at this time I had not visited the dealer nor seen the car).

They said they would keep it ready next day for delivery, which gave me time also to take the cashiers check.

I go there with the check next day, find that the car doesn’t exactly look new, has stains inside and outside (nothing permanent, but looks worn) and odometer has a couple hundred miles on it.I ask the sales person and he says it was a dealer trade and was driven from other dealership hence the stains and odometer reading of around 200 miles.

For the “inconvenience” of the miles and the dirty car he says we will credit another $50.He sends the car for wash, cleaning, detailing, comes back an hour later not looking much more clean than before.

My kids are getting restless at this time, I make the payment and take delivery of the car and drive away.

This was around a month ago.I recently find in the glove box a document that shows the car having been lent to a customer as a demo car, has customer’s name, address, phone number and a period of time (a week) for which car is lent to the customer as a “demo” car.

I contact the corporate office of the manufacturer and they say based on my VIN the factory warranty started on the date of my sale agreement. They also tell me that there is no other listed owner previous to me.

The vehicle was delivered to the dealer who I bought from and sat there in the lot for 3-4 months prior to my purchase.Car Fax also lists the same info, that the dealer acquired the vehicle few months prior to my sale date and it also lists the couple of hundred miles on it prior to my title registration.

I contact the DMV who say that I am the first and only owner of the vehicle as per title records at their end.So all that is good news. DMV also tells me that a dealer in my state (PA) can just put dealer plates and lend cars out for demo purposed to potential customers.The bad news is that I negotiated and paid for a new car not demo car.

They went to great lengths to disguise it from me and lied to me (what a shocker, a dealership lying to a customer).The vehicle appears to have been driven by different people who may have had it in their possession for several days and there is no guarantees how the car was used, revved up, raced, etc during that time.Car has bumper to bumper 3 year, 36K factory warranty.

My questions:

1)  This is in PA.     

2) I look at the sale agreement and there are boxes for:
a. New
b.Used
c.Demo
d.Car
e. Truck

Nothing is checked on my sales agreement. It is clear that based on their document template a demo car is listed as different than new.

3)  FTC says used cars need to be clearly marked and sold and if not each violation could cost the dealership $16,000.
https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/ftc-used-car-dealers-play-rules-or-pay-price 
  I don’t know if this car comes under the category of a “used” car.

4)  I have emailed the dealer about the issue and asked them how they propose to make this right. They have not responded to my emails or phone calls.Its been about a week. Reached out to the sales manager and sales person and head of sales department. 

5)      Anyone aware if any state or federal laws were violated in selling a “demo” car as a new one?

6)      I am still researching on google on the above and will share on the thread what I learn.

7)      Do I have a claim that I can file in small claims court?

8)      Do I have a good case/argument on the dealer’s behavior?

9)   If yes, what is a good gauge to figure out how much monetary damages to sue for?

10)  The car is in the mid $20Ks (OTD).

11)  Are there any guidelines on how new cars are to be driven till they are broken in, if it is ripped out at 100 miles an hour on the highway in the first couple of hundred miles, could that potentially cause any damage to the vehicle? 

I am not looking to get rich off of this, I do feel cheated, I was sold a demo car as new and lied to. I would have negotiated the pricing differently had I known it was a demo car or possibly have walked away from the deal altogether. 

Thank you for your thoughts and suggestions!

Member Summary
Most Recent Posts
I honestly don't see why your that mad. It is a new car, as far as I know a demo is a new car. Sometimes they give the... (more)

vansville (Sep. 13, 2016 @ 10:07a) |

I didn't really read all this, just wanted to add:

1.) You should expect a dealer to lie to you. If it's illegal, then ... (more)

Infinion (Sep. 13, 2016 @ 10:19a) |

I had a dealer ask me how many miles was acceptable as they were swapping with another dealer. Think I said <100mi.

I wou... (more)

zapjb (Sep. 13, 2016 @ 12:26p) |

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They were deceptive and your best bet of setting this right (or getting adequate compensation) was when were at the dealership, prior to completing the sale. I am not sure there is much you can do now.

MsEmptyWallet said:   I go there with the check next day, find that the car doesn’t exactly look new, has stains inside and outside (nothing permanent, but looks worn) and odometer has a couple hundred miles on it.I ask the sales person and he says it was a dealer trade and was driven from other dealership hence the stains and odometer reading of around 200 miles.

My kids are getting restless at this time, I make the payment and take delivery of the car and drive away.

I was sold a demo car as new and lied to. I would have negotiated the pricing differently had I known it was a demo car or possibly have walked away from the deal altogether.  


Well, you saw it had a few miles on it when you came to pick it up, that was the time to walk away. And why are you bringing kids along for this? Might have an out with the undisclosed demo issue, contact the DMV about it.

Well I have the car now and I am not looking to return it. I have it, it runs fine. But definitely there was mis-representation of it as a new car.

I find it hard to believe there is no legal recourse for such sales. If any there should be financial compensation.

Hind sight is 20/20. From where we are now, what are the next best options. Would have, could have, should have are great to think and mull over after the horse has bolted the stable.

So once business deals, say a car sale, a home sale or whatever sale is done, and there was deceit and mis-representation of the intended good or service, there is no recourse?

Is that what I am hearing?

What do you want? Discount? Cash? A different car? To stick it to the dealer?

MsEmptyWallet said:   I find it hard to believe there is no legal recourse for such sales. If any there should be financial compensation.
  Like I said, contact your DMV for guidance. What are your damages? Car is under warranty so how would you be out any money if it needs repairs. Some battles are not worth fighting unless you have nothing else to do with your time.

If you have everything very well documented, then you could go to small claims court and try to get $500-$1K back from the dealer for misrepresenting the car.  Otherwise, move on with your life.

MsEmptyWallet said:   From where we are now, what are the next best options. Would have, could have, should have are great to think and mull over after the horse has bolted the stable.Take the car and the kids for a Saturday afternoon arts & crafts picnic in front of the dealership. Drop by Hobby Lobby or Staples on the way for posterboard and wide tipped markers.

So here are my damages:

1) Not getting the good that I paid for, which is a new car, a demo car is not a new car.

2) Car fax lists the dealership miles as 200 miles even before sale, as well as the title does also, any future buyer of the vehicle will know this was a used/demo car. It might depreciate the car further.

3) The uncertainty of how the car was driven/treated during the "demo" use. And possible implications on the future of the engine.

I did pay with $500 on credit card, disputing it might be the easiest way to get started.

Or going to small claims and filing for $1000 along with couple of hundred in filing fees and to serve.

WWFWFD?

If this were you, and you were in my situation, what would you do?

And yes sticking it to the dealer would be good. Next time they get an idea to commit fraud, they might want to think of the consequences. If at least once it dissuades them from doing so, it is a good outcome from this mess!

MsEmptyWallet said:   
WWFWFD?

If this were you, and you were in my situation, what would you do?

  
Nothing at this point. I would have walked when I noticed the car had a couple of hundred miles on it. You have no more leverage, you pretty much lost it all when you proceeded with the transaction.

Move on and enjoy your new car.

So even a $500 dispute with the credit card company is not recommended? Wow FWF sure has changed

MsEmptyWallet said:   So even a $500 dispute with the credit card company is not recommended? Wow FWF sure has changed
  You consummated the transaction for which the deposit was put down. You are unlikely to win the dispute. Even if you do, it doesnt stop the dealer from coming back at you for the $500. Moreover, you already accepted $50 for your "inconvenience".

MsEmptyWallet said:   And yes sticking it to the dealer would be good. Next time they get an idea to commit fraud, they might want to think of the consequences. If at least once it dissuades them from doing so, it is a good outcome from this mess!
  Leave a bad review on public forums. Be careful to be factual so that you are not sued for libel.

The transaction was consummated when the dealer said that the miles was due to the car being driven from another dealership. That is a lot different that miles being put on due to it being a demo car and being lent to various different people.

I am not trying to be obtuse, but since when is lying on a legal sales agreement acceptable with no legal repercussions?

MsEmptyWallet said:   The transaction was consummated when the dealer said that the miles due to the car being driven from another dealership. That is a lot different that miles being put on due to it being a demo car.

I am not trying to be obtuse, but since when is lying on a legal sales agreement acceptable with no legal repercussions?

  What do you have in writing as evidence?

Email trail of deposit being put down for a brand new car. Print out of the ad from the dealer for the car advertised as brand new with 10 miles.

MsEmptyWallet said:   Email trail of deposit being put down for a brand new car. Print out of the ad from the dealer for the car advertised as brand new with 10 miles.
Couple this with you knew about the mileage issue prior to the sale and accepted the $50 as "inconvenience" fee. You are unlikely to succeed with a dispute based on this.
You have been advised to try the DMV angle before; that is perhaps one opportunity in a legal angle.

You may not like the FWF answer; asking the question repeatedly is not necessarily going to change the answer.

I appreciate all the input here, including yours. It is not asking the same question, it is trying to understand the recommendations being made.

And by challenging and having a healthy debate it leads to more constructive future steps.

Even if I decide to file in small claims, I want to vet it here to see if I am throwing good money after bad. That's all.

I will call the DMV, I highly doubt they will get involved in this. The FTC or other state regulatory agencies might perhaps, I highly doubt it would be the DMV.

Yet I will give it a shot tomorrow!

Thanks!

MsEmptyWallet said:   So here are my damages:

2) Car fax lists the dealership miles as 200 miles even before sale, as well as the title does also, any future buyer of the vehicle will know this was a used/demo car. It might depreciate the car further.

3) The uncertainty of how the car was driven/treated during the "demo" use. And possible implications on the future of the engine.

 

  

Just my opinion but I personally don't see any risk or worry for either of those points.

I doubt virtually anyone would even look at the fact that the car was a dealer for a couple hundred miles much less care.
Its not at all likely people abused the card when it was loaned out or used as a demo.     And even if they did 1-2 instances of driving at high speeds is not going to ruin your engine.   Cars aren't that fragile. 

Being lied to by the dealer sucks but I think your actual damages are negligible here.     You knew it had 200 miles on it when you bought it.  The nature of those miles is negligible.

 

jerosen said:   
MsEmptyWallet said:   So here are my damages:

2) Car fax lists the dealership miles as 200 miles even before sale, as well as the title does also, any future buyer of the vehicle will know this was a used/demo car. It might depreciate the car further.

3) The uncertainty of how the car was driven/treated during the "demo" use. And possible implications on the future of the engine.

 

  

Just my opinion but I personally don't see any risk or worry for either of those points.

I doubt virtually anyone would even look at the fact that the car was a dealer for a couple hundred miles much less care.
Its not at all likely people abused the card when it was loaned out or used as a demo.     And even if they did 1-2 instances of driving at high speeds is not going to ruin your engine.   Cars aren't that fragile. 

Being lied to by the dealer sucks but I think your actual damages are negligible here.     You knew it had 200 miles on it when you bought it.  The nature of those miles is negligible.

 

  
Thank you. I think you understood my thought process. The biggest peeve of mine is being lied to. 

I did have those doubts that I list above also, but hearing from an independent unbiased person helps to know that my concerns may have much less of an impact than what I feared.

To be honest if they had been straight up with me, and told me honestly I might have worked something out (without trying to milk the situation). 
 

I understand your position and would feel cheated as well. But you lost leverage when you accepted their story and the $50 for extra miles. If you have the time might as well file a small claims suit for misrepresentation of the status of the car and see what happens.

OP this is all your fault. You accepted the car after it came back from being washed & detailed "not looking much more clean than before".

itaos said:   I understand your position and would feel cheated as well. But you lost leverage when you accepted their story and the $50 for extra miles. If you have the time might as well file a small claims suit for misrepresentation of the status of the car and see what happens.
  
Well this is one of the things I an trying to find out here, how much legal standing and claim I have in this situation. 

I don't want to spend a day of my life and another $200 or so to file a suit if the clear answer is no. 

Car dealers lie, water is wet, ice is cold. You need to verify everything and get all promises in writing from a car dealer. Move on and enjoy your new car. None of this matters to a subsequent buyer. Your kids are gonna hurt the value of that car a whole lot more than 200 miles at delivery.

The chargeback is a bad move, even if you win it you might be back where you started as it doesn't actually negate your obligation. The DMV angle can be tried, and if you have free time and feel really bad about the whole thing, perhaps small claims could be a way (IANAL - no real idea of your chances).
But surely when you go to a car dealership you know beforehand you might deal with very shady people, why on earth would you accept a dirty "new" car if that was something that bothered you? 200 miles were 200 miles whether a dealer drove or a prospective customer, if it bothers you that it might have been mistreated it makes no difference who drove - in both cases it was not you. So, whatever you do, remember in the future to not go through with transactions that make you feel uncomfortable.

zapjb said:   OP this is all your fault. You accepted the car after it came back from being washed & detailed "not looking much more clean than before".
  I don't understand why you'd accept a dirty and stained new car?  You already accepted $50 in exchange for the 200 miles and stains - you've received what you paid for.

Youd have better luck going back to the dealer today if you'd bought it yesterday, rather than a month later.  How do you find paperwork in the glove box a month later?

I didn't think they'd demo a car for a full week (or it possibly was a salesman using it)?  But I'd assume a majority of cars on a car lot (aside from multiples of the same model) have been demo'ed or test driven somewhat regularly.  200 miles is nothing, and won't get you much sympathy from anyone.  I would've made more of an issue over the used appearance, than the mileage - but again, you already accepted $50 as compensation.

Just to piss you off more - the dealer probably charged the guy who drove it a cleaning fee for the damage, and netted an additional profit after giving you that $50...

 

A vehicle can continue to be sold as "new" in most states as long as it has never been titled before.  So you bought a "new" car that happened to have 200 miles on it.  Well, somebody had to have been driving it in order to get those 200 miles on it, right?  Why does it matter to you if it was a sales manager, his kid, or somebody on a week long test drive?  Sorry, but you lost any negotiating power once you drove the car off the lot.  I don't really think you have any damages here anyway.  Move on.

Good lord.

BMW Demo Settlement- it was considered fraud if the warranty does not start when you buy the car. http://www.autonews.com/article/20150720/LEGALFILE/307209991/bmw...

I believe it was stated you warranty started when you bought it, so that is considered ok.

Here is a California Lemon Law Attorney, who believes you have been wronged (In CA, which has specific laws about demos apparently).

http://lemonlawautofraud.com/undisclosed-demonstrator-demo-execu...

In Pa, this attorney has specifically answered questions about undisclosed demo cars, and you may want to talk to her about your concerns.

https://www.avvo.com/attorneys/15222-pa-christina-roseman-758988...

I don't have any real advice on how to correct the purchase problem. But I did buy a conversion van (used) which kept dying on me. After repeated "repairs" and no better performance, I called AAA and had the van towed back to the dealership, right outside their front doors. Then I waited. Oh baby, you have NO IDEA how fast I got service! It helped that I refused to discuss the matter "in the office" - the van never died near the office. In the end it all worked out. We ended up purchasing another new vehicle from the same dealership a couple of years later without any troubles at all. Good luck.


dawson
Disclaimer
The salesman pooped on my seat!

MsEmptyWallet said:   The vehicle appears to have been driven by different people who may have had it in their possession for several days and there is no guarantees how the car was used, revved up, raced, etc during that time.Car has bumper to bumper 3 year, 36K factory warranty.
I agree that it's a little shady, but just about every car on the lot will get test driven before it gets sold. I would argue that the typical ~15-30-minute test drive on a cold engine is harder on a car than the "take-home test drive" that your car went through.
MsEmptyWallet said:   
3)  FTC says used cars need to be clearly marked and sold and if not each violation could cost the dealership $16,000.
https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/ftc-used-car-dealers-play-rules-or-pay-price 
  I don’t know if this car comes under the category of a “used” car.

It doesn't. Just because a car gets test driven while in dealership custody doesn't make it "used".
MsEmptyWallet said:   
9)   If yes, what is a good gauge to figure out how much monetary damages to sue for?

You already "settled" for $50.

I know the DMV was a recommendation and you seem to keep dismissing that option but here is what happened to me. I bought a car from a different state as mine and they were supposed to mail me the title and than I would take it to get it registered. In the mean time, I had temp plates which would expire in two weeks. Two weeks pass and still no title. I call the dealership multiple times..Keep getting the run around. No one knows anything or has a clue. Same old crap. I contact the DMV of the state I bought it from. An investigator goes to the dealership on my behalf and talks to them about the missing title. He calls me back and wow the title is on its way. Secondly, the DMV asked me what kind of compensation I wanted. I asked for a new oil filter and air filter. I should have asked for more. Anyways, that was my experience. FYI, I filed the complaint on-line too. Super easy.

MsEmptyWallet said:   So here are my damages:

2) Car fax lists the dealership miles as 200 miles even before sale, as well as the title does also, any future buyer of the vehicle will know this was a used/demo car. It might depreciate the car further.
 

  You didn't.

You should drop this and move on with your life.

I'll echo others who said that no future buyer is going to notice or care about the 200 miles and that you have no reason to think that 200 miles were driven in a way that will harm the car. Your protection against the car being a lemon (caused by the 200 miles or not) is your warranty, which is fine since you said it was measured from date and mileage on your sale agreement.

As for your legal recourse, you could consult a lawyer in your local jurisdiction. I am not (and no one on the internet is) your lawyer, but you may want to consider asking your lawyer some of these questions.

1. What is the legal standard for a car to be considered not "new"? The word "demo" has been thrown around a lot in this thread, but it is not clear that the car actually is a demo. A demo is usually driven by someone at the manufacturer or dealership for several thousand miles and, at least historically, there were issues of the warranty being shorter by the demo time/miles. It's entirely possible the dealership is legally correct to call the car "new". I don't think you actually got a demo car but got one that had been on the lot a long time and had been used for an extended test drive or two.

2. Can you prove a fraud or breach of contract claim? Is what is in writing enough to actually win a case. Based on responses in this thread, you may have a tough time here.

3. How much will you be mocked when you assert that 200 miles is worth damages in the range of 4-6% of the car's value, even though you are getting a full new car warranty? Others have already pointed out that you don't really have much of a case for any damages beyond the $50 and car wash you already got. Vague arguments about future depreciation are not enough to collect damages, as you often have to prove the damages are more likely than not to occur. Maybe your lawyer will find some type of statutory damage law applicable to your situation if you are lucky.

4. How much will pursuing this case cost? Splitting that $1,000 in damages you are hoping for is not going to be enough to convince him or her to write more than a letter. Absent attorneys fees recovery laws or statutory damages, retaining a lawyer will require you to spend more than you can reasonably hope to get back when you win.

Finally, stop beating yourself up over this. I don't think you got taken. You spotted the mileage and the dirt and you got something reasonable in exchange. You are just being paranoid about depreciation and future buyers. I get that dealing with car dealers is unpleasant, but your time is more valuable than this.

EntertheDeals said:   I know the DMV was a recommendation and you seem to keep dismissing that option but here is what happened to me. I bought a car from a different state as mine and they were supposed to mail me the title and than I would take it to get it registered. In the mean time, I had temp plates which would expire in two weeks. Two weeks pass and still no title. I call the dealership multiple times..Keep getting the run around. No one knows anything or has a clue. Same old crap. I contact the DMV of the state I bought it from. An investigator goes to the dealership on my behalf and talks to them about the missing title. He calls me back and wow the title is on its way. Secondly, the DMV asked me what kind of compensation I wanted. I asked for a new oil filter and air filter. I should have asked for more. Anyways, that was my experience. FYI, I filed the complaint on-line too. Super easy.
  I believe the DMV in my state & most other states would laugh in my face if I asked them to intercede with any seller.

Vehicles routinely get driven several dozen or even a couple hundred miles and are still sold and titled as "new." That's not unusual, and it doesn't change the legal status of the title, nor does it change the warranty or sales agreement.

In this case, there was a stain on the seat and the dealer lied about the vehicle having been swapped with another dealer, which it hadn't. That's why OP is upset.

The stain was corrected and OP was compensated for it.

The window sticker shows the dealer to whom the vehicle was delivered after it left the port or factory, so that could have been checked very easily by the buyer before proceeding with the purchase. The time to call the lying salesman on that lie was at the time he lied, not several weeks later.

There is nothing to see here except a whiny mother trying to use (blame the existence of) her kids for her buyer's remorse. Either something about the car still isn't right that she's not telling us, or she simply realized she bought the wrong vehicle for her needs, or OP is now upset that her "buying experience" wasn't up to par and it's not really about the vehicle, it's about the memory for her.

The dealer lied. What a shocking news story. I'll notify CNN and I'm sure Anderson Cooper will get right on it.

Car dealers often times have hundreds of cars and a ton of staff, it might have been an honest mistake. The simplest answer often is the correct answer- the sales person might have thought the miles were from a dealer trade. Either way you took the discounted price ($50) for the extra miles and the dirty car. I do not see anything else at this point in time. As the others have stated the time for all of that would have been before you left the dealership.

Your thought of the car being worth less when you resell it does not hold water. You were told it was a dealer trade and that is why it had 200 miles and you were fine with that answer. I do not see a used car buyer offering anything less for your car because CarFax showed it having 200 miles at purchase. They too would more than likely think it was test driven or a dealer trade.

This might vary from state to state but when I worked at a dealership the "demo" cars were usually driven by the sales people and managers. These cars would be driven to a specified mileage (around 5k at the one I worked at) and then sold as demo cars. Letting a customer have a car for 1 week while his car is either in the shop or to test drive it to see if he liked it is not a true demo IMHO.

Finally you said FW has changed, you are right, the old FW would have gone off on a tangent about how it is dumb to buy a new car when Crown Vic's are everywhere.

Skipping 33 Messages...
I had a dealer ask me how many miles was acceptable as they were swapping with another dealer. Think I said <100mi.

I wouldn't volunteer at time of resale the 200mi or stain. It's not out of the ordinary except OP accepted less than "acceptable" appearance of car.

The resolution (thanks OP) sounds like the dealer bent over backwards to make it right. Congrats.



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