Getting back a downpayment on a vehicle

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13,616
Location
Frisco, TX
I'm trying to help a friend out here who is in a sticky situation with a vehicle he just ordered. If anyone can offer some assistance, especially if they have experience with this, it would be immensely appreciated. The story is as follows... He visited a dealer and ordered a 2015 Corvette with factory delivery in Bowling Green, and put down some cash as a downpayment. His wife wasn't aware of any of this. She found out before the car was built and demanded that he cancel it. The dealer said, "sorry, you signed this order form and gave us money, you're SOL". My friend tried to contact GM directly but was referred back to the dealer. Now the car has been built but isn't ready for pickup. The dealer has offered to refund half the downpayment money and forget the whole thing ever happened, claiming that now he'll have to sit on said car and try to sell it. It's not a weird or super-custom order, though the summer is winding down and Corvettes aren't going to get sold in the dead of winter. I checked the compiled statutes for the state of IL to see what buyer protections are in place and it said: (815 ILCS 375/13) (from Ch. 121 1/2, par. 573) Until the seller delivers a copy of the contract to him or her, a buyer who has not received delivery of the motor vehicle has the right to cancel his agreement and to receive a refund of all payments made and a return of all goods traded in to the seller on account of or in contemplation of the contract, or, if those goods cannot be returned, the value thereof. However, this Section does not apply when the merchandise has been specially ordered or custom made to the specifications of the purchaser and evidence of such order is provided by the seller. So it looks like the law doesn't allow him to back out since it was a special order, though I'd argue that's pretty loosely defined. To be fair, my friend signed the order sheet but NOT a sales contract saying he would buy the car. He reached out to a local law firm who specializes in dealing with auto dealers and car companies, and they refused to take the case. He's going to try another firm as a backup. Any other options here? Is it best to just take the offer of half the deposit back and walk away, lesson learned? An idea I had was to ask the GM of the dealer if he'd let them apply the downpayment to a different vehicle on the lot, though it's a small dealership and I'm not sure if there's much he would want (maybe a CTS-V or SS). Another friend had suggested to threaten the dealership with local TV news involvement, which could seriously damage their reputation. It's a small dealership that's not part of a conglomerate, so their reputation is probably important to them. This might burn bridges and result in getting none of the downpayment back.
 
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40,710
Location
Great Lakes
Based on the statute that you quoted, I would not go to the media with this. It looks like he's at the mercy of the dealership. The only way out of this would be if there was something wrong with the car they built or it was not built 100% to his requirements. How much would that half of the downpayment exactly be? If it's not too large, I'd just eat it. Live and learn. Otherwise, I like your idea of trying to use it towards the purchase of another vehicle from that dealership, if they have something that he really wants/needs.
 
Messages
2,408
Location
CA
The info you need to post to internet armchair "lawyers" is the contract he signed, not the law you found. How much money we talking about here? I think the split the down payment was a fair deal that the dealer offered. Dealers only get so many slots for "custom orders" and things of that nature. So they did use a ticket on your buddy and that had some value.
 
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dparm

Thread starter
Messages
13,616
Location
Frisco, TX
I don't know how much he put down, but if they're this worried about it, I'd bet it was 10% or more. On a Vette, that means about $7500-8000 if you include sales tax and everything else. They'd have to eat $4000 or whatever. CTS-V is basically a Corvette ZR1 sedan, and the SS is also very similar (really a G8 underneath). Seems like either would still be plenty fun without costing as much or being as impractical. I am trying to get a copy of the order form he signed to see what it says. It's not a sales contract, I know that, but it might say things like "cannot be canceled" or "non-refundable".
 
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778
Location
Southeast Michigan
If the factory pick-up is a standard part of Corvette sales (and I'm pretty sure that it is) then I'm failing to see how this really qualifies as a 'special order' under the Illinois law. As long as the car has a standard combination of options or packages, I'd say that it's an off-the-rack item.
 

dparm

Thread starter
Messages
13,616
Location
Frisco, TX
Originally Posted By: leeharvey418
If the factory pick-up is a standard part of Corvette sales (and I'm pretty sure that it is) then I'm failing to see how this really qualifies as a 'special order' under the Illinois law. As long as the car has a standard combination of options or packages, I'd say that it's an off-the-rack item.
Correct, there was nothing like a "paint-to-order" or custom interior. He said he just picked the colors, options, etc. And yes, factory pickup is a line item on the order form.
 
Messages
186
Location
WI
Ok... just a comment by the peanut gallery as a side note, but it IS a BIG DIFFERENCE between being "whipped" by your spouse ( male or female ) and maybe discussing a MAJOR PURCHASE before this occurs in the future to prevent problems such as this, or bigger ones !! ... just my $ .02 !!
 

dparm

Thread starter
Messages
13,616
Location
Frisco, TX
Originally Posted By: BurrWinder
Ok... just a comment by the peanut gallery as a side note, but it IS a BIG DIFFERENCE between being "whipped" by your spouse ( male or female ) and maybe discussing a MAJOR PURCHASE before this occurs in the future to prevent problems such as this, or bigger ones !! ... just my $ .02 !!
Agreed, though I'm not going to tell the couple how to handle that part of it. They asked me for help with getting the downpayment back since they know I'm a car guy. They can work out the rest of it on their own. Fortunately, it's only money.
 
Messages
394
Location
San Diego, California
I fail to see how the dealer is in the wrong here. Your friend decided to make a major financial decision without consulting his wife. That was a bonehead move and personal responsibility should factor in here. The dealer has committed to the order, based on his signature on the order form and payment, and will be taking delivery of the vehicle. Man up, take the nut kick from the wife and the one from the dealer and move on with 1/2 of the down payment returned. I would laugh at this guy if I saw his story on TV.
 
Messages
2,408
Location
CA
Originally Posted By: dparm
Originally Posted By: leeharvey418
If the factory pick-up is a standard part of Corvette sales (and I'm pretty sure that it is) then I'm failing to see how this really qualifies as a 'special order' under the Illinois law. As long as the car has a standard combination of options or packages, I'd say that it's an off-the-rack item.
Correct, there was nothing like a "paint-to-order" or custom interior. He said he just picked the colors, options, etc. And yes, factory pickup is a line item on the order form.
Even if you order the regular options it's a "special order". Notice the law you quoted differentiated between custom and special, and special doesn't have to mean custom. So if i were on the jury i'd vote the other way. Any plain old thing can be a "special order" where they're ordering something just for you. Otherwise you wouldn't be picking up anything or signing anything, you'd say let me know when You guys order a blue one, and I'll stop by to buy it.
 
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Messages
35,682
Location
NY
He can try his luck in small claims court, as long as the deposit was under the maximum amount allowed in small claims court. I have a feeling he'll lose, but you never know. The lessons here are these: Leave the least amount of money possible for a deposit on a Credit Card. Cash deposits are the worst possible deposits to leave. At least with a credit card you can try and dispute the charge and you might just get the money back. 2. If you want to place an order for a new car make sure you really want the car, if their is a spouse involved, make sure the spouse approves.
 
Messages
186
Location
WI
Originally Posted By: Jim_Truett
I fail to see how the dealer is in the wrong here. Your friend decided to make a major financial decision without consulting his wife. That was a bonehead move and personal responsibility should factor in here. The dealer has committed to the order, based on his signature on the order form and payment, and will be taking delivery of the vehicle. Man up, take the nut kick from the wife and the one from the dealer and move on with 1/2 of the down payment returned. I would laugh at this guy if I saw his story on TV.
Also agree... as I discussed.. BUT also agree with the idea of using it on another vehicle ( like amount of money committed, if they agree to that) towards another new or used vehicle. If it isn't anything too "extreme" in the way of special order, they most likely may bite on this idea as it now at least commits you to that amount of money to them for a deal that now may not occur... They do only usually have so many "spots" of special order stuff and it may cost more for them to monkey with it as someone else mentioned - and they want their payment, too. Definitely worth a try in my opinion.
 
Messages
3,590
Location
Ohio
Originally Posted By: Jim_Truett
I fail to see how the dealer is in the wrong here. Your friend decided to make a major financial decision without consulting his wife. That was a bonehead move and personal responsibility should factor in here. The dealer has committed to the order, based on his signature on the order form and payment, and will be taking delivery of the vehicle. Man up, take the nut kick from the wife and the one from the dealer and move on with 1/2 of the down payment returned. I would laugh at this guy if I saw his story on TV.
Even though I'm not necessarily a back the dealer kind of guy, I have to agree with this. Why should a small volume dealer have to absorb the floor plan on somewhat of an expensive "specialty" vehicle because some guy acted impulsively and does not have the requisite "hardware" to stand up to the spouse and complete the deal? He's lucky they offered him 50%. He should take it and run.
 
Messages
2,806
Location
Michigan
Originally Posted By: dparm
I'm trying to help a friend out here who is in a sticky situation with a vehicle he just ordered. If anyone can offer some assistance, especially if they have experience with this, it would be immensely appreciated. The story is as follows... He visited a dealer and ordered a 2015 Corvette with factory delivery in Bowling Green, and put down some cash as a downpayment. His wife wasn't aware of any of this. She found out before the car was built and demanded that he cancel it. The dealer said, "sorry, you signed this order form and gave us money, you're SOL". My friend tried to contact GM directly but was referred back to the dealer. Now the car has been built but isn't ready for pickup. The dealer has offered to refund half the downpayment money and forget the whole thing ever happened, claiming that now he'll have to sit on said car and try to sell it. It's not a weird or super-custom order, though the summer is winding down and Corvettes aren't going to get sold in the dead of winter. I checked the compiled statutes for the state of IL to see what buyer protections are in place and it said: (815 ILCS 375/13) (from Ch. 121 1/2, par. 573) Until the seller delivers a copy of the contract to him or her, a buyer who has not received delivery of the motor vehicle has the right to cancel his agreement and to receive a refund of all payments made and a return of all goods traded in to the seller on account of or in contemplation of the contract, or, if those goods cannot be returned, the value thereof. However, this Section does not apply when the merchandise has been specially ordered or custom made to the specifications of the purchaser and evidence of such order is provided by the seller. So it looks like the law doesn't allow him to back out since it was a special order, though I'd argue that's pretty loosely defined. To be fair, my friend signed the order sheet but NOT a sales contract saying he would buy the car. He reached out to a local law firm who specializes in dealing with auto dealers and car companies, and they refused to take the case. He's going to try another firm as a backup. Any other options here? Is it best to just take the offer of half the deposit back and walk away, lesson learned? An idea I had was to ask the GM of the dealer if he'd let them apply the downpayment to a different vehicle on the lot, though it's a small dealership and I'm not sure if there's much he would want (maybe a CTS-V or SS). Another friend had suggested to threaten the dealership with local TV news involvement, which could seriously damage their reputation. It's a small dealership that's not part of a conglomerate, so their reputation is probably important to them. This might burn bridges and result in getting none of the downpayment back.
sounds like we have friends who like to buy toys they should not be :-), lol, most states have a cooling off period for car/house etc, you can back out with/without penalty sounds like the dealer is trying to take your buddy for a ride. it does NOT matter what he signed, state law/fed law wins. I can sign contract to sell my first born to a million but that contract will not be binding. just buy a different vehicle and apply the down payment towards it.
 
Messages
2,806
Location
Michigan
Originally Posted By: Tdbo
Originally Posted By: Jim_Truett
I fail to see how the dealer is in the wrong here. Your friend decided to make a major financial decision without consulting his wife. That was a bonehead move and personal responsibility should factor in here. The dealer has committed to the order, based on his signature on the order form and payment, and will be taking delivery of the vehicle. Man up, take the nut kick from the wife and the one from the dealer and move on with 1/2 of the down payment returned. I would laugh at this guy if I saw his story on TV.
Even though I'm not necessarily a back the dealer kind of guy, I have to agree with this. Why should a small volume dealer have to absorb the floor plan on somewhat of an expensive "specialty" vehicle because some guy acted impulsively and does not have the requisite "hardware" to stand up to the spouse and complete the deal? He's lucky they offered him 50%. He should take it and run.
very true, how much are we talking? just curious, I hope it is not $10k like my buddies son did on the BMW
 
Messages
2,408
Location
CA
Originally Posted By: demarpaint
He can try his luck in small claims court, as long as the deposit was under the maximum amount allowed in small claims court. I have a feeling he'll lose, but you never know. The lessons here are these: Leave the least amount of money possible for a deposit on a Credit Card. Cash deposits are the worst possible deposits to leave. At least with a credit card you can try and dispute the charge and you might just get the money back. 2. If you want to place an order for a new car make sure you really want the car, if their is a spouse involved, make sure the spouse approves.
You may not lose money; but you did renege on a signed contract. Car dealers aren't some naive guy on craigslist that you can just leave hanging. You may get the debt collection stuck onto your credit report and debt collectors hounding after you. Might cost more to clean up your credit afterwards than the money you saved.
 
Messages
593
Location
Al
Giving a car dealer a significant cash down payment and signing an order document a $75k car without discussing with your wife or husband is indicative of a person who needs some schooling in life. Consider the lost deposit the "tuition" cost of educating this bonehead on what not to do with his savings.
 

JHZR2

Staff member
Messages
46,121
Location
New Jersey
My read of the law is that it is custom and it is not returnable. The dealer will have capital tied up sitting on the car until it sells. Not sure if the downpayments was earnest money or just a good faith deposit, but the IL law sounds pretty clear to me. If take the deal of half the deposit back (or haggle for an equitable split if it was a particularly large downpayments), and chalk it up to a life lesson.
 
Messages
1,327
Location
Washington for now
there is reason they need a deposit on special orders. its for situations like this. now the dealer owns a car that he may or may not sell quickly. he has to pay carrying cost etc. they were nice to offer half back. tell your friend its a cheap lesson learned. Divorce court cost even more
 
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