Jay writes in with a question: how do you get back your deposit from a car dealership when a deal goes sour? The salesman jacked up the price after an initial negotiation, and now won’t refund the deposit: “He said we’d be surprised at what he can make up to keep the deposit.”
I’ve been reading your website for quite a while and need some help for my brother. He went to Bay Ridge Nissan in Brooklyn, NY to lease a Nissan Pathfinder. He negotiated the deal to 311 a month and 1200 out of pocket costs. When I went with him to the dealership on Wednesday to pick up the car and sign the paperwork, the numbers were all changed. They added a bunch of fees, including a mysterious prep fee. After much negotiating, we decided not to buy the vehicle. My brother had left a $500 deposit earlier, and they said he would get it back.
Today, the salesman called and begged him to come take the car. After he said no, the salesman said he’s not getting his deposit back. The salesman also intercepts any phone calls to the manager and says we must only speak to his manager and his manager will be in tomorrow. He said we’d be surprised at what he can make up to keep the deposit. I’m wondering what to do to get the deposit back.
Jay, your brother is going to have to do an end-run around this scammer to reach the manager—we suggest finding new ways to contact him, whether it’s by having a wife or girlfriend call with a made-up story or staking the place out for a few days to figure out when he’s there and then intercepting him in person. (Btw, have you seen this page of contact information?) It probably isn’t worth it, though: there’s always a chance he’s as corrupt as his employees, and you’ll just be prolonging the inevitable. Instead, you might want to read our post “How To Kick A Scammy Car Dealer In The Nuts” for tips on how to make the rogue salesman’s behavior a financial liability for the dealership.
Your other recourse is to take the dealership to small claims court, where you stand a good chance of getting back your money.
Whatever you decide to do, you should also report the dealership to the New York Attorney General’s office via their complaint form, and while you’re there read up on their advice and warnings for car buyers in New York.
“Dealerships Rip You Off With The “Four-Square,” Here’s How To Beat It”
“13 Step Method For Buying A Car While Controlling The Sale And The Price”
“Buying A Car: Always Up The Ante”
“The Art of The Buy: Hide Your Time Wisely”