Dealership Disappeared, Can I Return My Truck To Chevrolet?

Terry would like to return his new 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche with only 70 miles on it. The only problem is that when he drove it back to the dealership, they found an empty lot. The dealership had gone out of business.

Terry wants to know what chance he has of returning the car to Chevrolet itself.

Before answering, we first looked for inspiration from the mighty snow pig flying in hell.

Terry could try calling Chevy Customer Assistance Center at 1.800-222-1020 and explain the situation.

If that’s fruitless, Terry may have no choice but to sell the truck.

Always scope the dealership out first to make sure they’re legit, and not on the verge of shuttering up the windows.

Terry’s note is inside…

UPDATE: The name and address of the business was: Ridgedale Chevrolet, 108 Ridgedale Avenue, Morristown, NJ.

Terry writes:

    “Dear Sir:

    Recently we purchased a new 2007 Chevolet Avalanche at a local dealership in Morristown, New Jersey. After the three day grace period, we decided to return the vehicle. We were met instead with leaving “voicemail” as neither the general manager, or salesperson was available. We had contacted the dealership numerous occasions from the time that we purchased the vehicle. Finally, yesterday, I drove to the dealership to speak to the manager in person, after weeks of no one having the courtesy to extend a call to us. Frustrated and disappointed in the Ridgedale Dealership in Morristown, we were met with an abandoned dealership as they had closed and gone out of business!!! Now we are left with a car that we do not want. What are our options in returning the Avalanche to Chevrolet and receiving a fair price. The car is new off the lot, with just the mileage (70) driven back and forth to the dealership and our home. Thank you.”



Edit Your Comment

  1. Magister says:

    Wow, is the 3 day grace period a Chevy Thing, a dealership thing or a law thing?

    I feel for the guy.

  2. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    It sounds like he was beyond the 3 day period when he went to the dealership itself. If Chevy wants to be jerks, they could say that as of that email, he is beyond the 3 day period.

  3. Skeptic says:

    I suspect one should always be wary of “grace periods” since they are so hard to actually use. In California, there is a 3 day grace period law that many consumers have heard about, but it only applies to in-home sales (like vacuum cleaner salesmen and such). Unfortunately, people often assume the 3-day grace period applies to large purchases like cars and vacation time shares in California but it does not.

    Clearly, the law in NJ is probably different. And just because the dealer closed up shop doesn’t mean you can’t sue them. Unless they have declared bankruptcy, I’d guess the owner is still liable for the business obligations the same way he’s liable for other debts of the business.


  4. Kornkob says:

    What I want to know is where one goes to find out if a business is on the verge of folding up shop? I mean, unless a business voluntarily tells people that their are having trouble maintaining a revenue stream, it’s not like there’s a registry of businesses that are about to fold up, Its easy enough (and probably in the owner’s best interests) to maintain the appearance of a going concern right up until the last possible second.

  5. Ben Popken says:

    @Korknkob: word on the street.

  6. csnoke says:

    The guy goes in, drives a car off the lot and takes it home for three days… then when he decides he doesn’t want it he calls and calls and calls.. and then, as a last resort (no doubt after the 3 day grace period has ended) he tries to return it.

    I don’t by it. I’m not sure what type of victim he’s trying to be here, but it sounds to me like he was keeping it longer than he should have and then got bit. I don’t feel sorry for him. If he didn’t want it.. he shouldn’t have bought it in the first place.

  7. DeeJayQueue says:

    This is actually a pretty good wake up call about some misconceptions regarding new cars:

  8. empty01 says:

    @skeptic: Bingo, file a suit against the salesperson, all managers, and the business owner after contacting Chevy. Unless the dealership had filed articles of incorporation there is a very real human being responsible for all debts. The fact is however he should have driven down to the dealership as soon as he realized he did not want the car. Sounds like he walked into a dealership that was about to shut its doors not knowing what he want. When the dealers told him he believed them. At 20 I learned car dealers are scum, they will lie to get you into a car as well as using high pressure BS tactics, and they also do not care about about what you actually want in a vehicle. I think the reality is this guy just bought himself a car he does not want.

  9. notgoingtohappen says:

    I agree with csnoke. How can you feel sorry for the guy. I live in New Jersey and State Law does not require a “3 day grace period.” It states that it is up to the individual dealer contract to specify the terms. This guy put 70 miles on this “new” vehicle and had it for a few weeks based on the letter he wrote.

    If anyone was allowed to return a car based on his circumstances, no dealer would be in business nor would there be very many new cars.

    Come on – give me a break. This should not even warrent recognition on consumerist.

  10. SuperJdynamite says:

    So the car has no defects? The terms of the purchase were honored? Am I correct in that the buyer tried to return the car after the agreed-upon return period?

    Sorry, but if the terms of the deal were honored by the dealship I can’t fault them for not catering to buyer’s remorse.

    As for filing suit against the dealership, on what grounds would you sue them?

  11. MeMikeYouNot says:

    I was in the “car biz” many years ago, sales, finance etc. We occasionally ran into a customer who would decide the new car wasn’t what he wanted and he would cite the 3-day rule. I never understood where they got that from and wish I had been able to show them the piece that was linked to above, by DeeJay. It was a long 9 years of dealing with customers who were as dishonest as the day is long. My favorite was when they came back to pickup the new car, with their previously appraised trade and they had changed out the good tires for ratty ones. Of course, now the customer never leaves the dealershio without driving the new car. Not sure which is worse

  12. kellkell says:

    Just chiming in on the 3 day grace period. It wasn’t clear in the letter that was written so I don’t know if this applies, but a local dealer in Colorado advertises and promotes a 3 day grace period. So the grace period might have been dealer specific which might make things difficult to try to return the car to the Manufacturer.

  13. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    Perhaps that was the dealer’s plan….

    Jan 1st – “Take it home for 3 days, if you don’t like it, bring it back!

    Jan 2nd – CLOSED

  14. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    A while back, Chrysler/Dodge offered a trial period on their new cars. You could basically return the car to the dealer and pay a restocking fee, if you didn’t like the car. I’m guessing this is what caused or contributed to the 3-day myth.

    However, in Califonia there is a trial period for used cars. This law was recently passed, so not too many people know about it.

  15. Magister says:

    Unless we have a law broken here and a bad truck, I am really confused. Why would the dealership take back the truck? Lets pretend the dealership didn’t just close up. Why would they take it back. The dude had the truck for a few days.

  16. katana says:

    “I don’t by it. I’m not sure what type of victim he’s trying to be here, but it sounds to me like he was keeping it longer than he should have and then got bit. I don’t feel sorry for him. If he didn’t want it.. he shouldn’t have bought it in the first place.”

    I don’t know whether or not the guy kept it longer. If it was 3 days grace period, and not 30 days, then something about this story doesn’t line up. You’d have to be pretty unlucky to buy a car, show up 3 days later, and the lot be fully cleared.

    And, you’re right. If he didn’t want it, he shouldn’t have bought it. Sucks to be him.

  17. MeOhMy says:

    “If he didn’t want it, he shouldn’t have bought it. Sucks to be him.”

    I can’t be the only one that thinks it bizarre that the two most expensive things you can purchase are sold pretty much as impulse buys and without any type of return policy.

  18. iamjames says:

    I, too, am confused by this buyer, and even more confused why everyone’s siding with the buyer.

    He buys a car, then apparently just “doesn’t want it” anymore, and instead of going to the “local” dealer immediately like a normal person would do with a $40,000+ vehicle he decides to make a few phone calls for weeks, then finally goes there weeks later and finds the dealership gone?

    Is this guy for real? It just seems unbelievable that he believed he could return the vehicle. Does he think dealerships are like Walmart?

    If I was the dealership I sure as hell wouldn’t give you any money back and I don’t think any judge or jury would either. This whole story is so crazy to the point of being absurd and unbelievable. I think this story is a fake. I don’t believe someone with the credit and income to purchase a 2007 Avalanche would be so stupid as to think they can make a phone call to ask if they can return their $40k truck and expect them to say “sure, bring it back we’ll give you $40k back”

  19. LewZealand says:

    “I can’t be the only one that thinks it bizarre that the two most expensive things you can purchase are sold pretty much as impulse buys and without any type of return policy.”

    If it’s such a high-priced item, wouldn’t you do research BEFORE the purchase and make your decision before laying down the money? Do they not allow test drives in bigger cities?

    I could understand the rule being used in the event of a manufacturer defect or something but “I don’t like the car” seems like a garbage excuse to me. Decide that before you spend $35K, boss.

  20. Smashville says:

    Hmm…I just called the number off of Chevrolet of Morristown’s website.

    Two things:
    a) It very clearly says “Saturn of Livingston”.
    b) I was transferred to a person in about six seconds when I hit 6 for sales. It seems like that anyone with a lick of sense could have asked what was going on with that.
    c) A dealer usually has hundreds of cars on the lot…technically, they can’t close until they sell off all the inventory or they will be stuck having to pay for it themselves. If the dealer closed 3 days after he bought the car, there would not have been any cars on the lot, which would raise my suspicions. Also, if the dealer was trying to sell off all of their inventory, it only makes sense to advertise everywhere – including at your own lot – that you are going out of business.

    This story is a crock of bologna…someone thought they could come up with a good story and not have an open dealer to complain about it. However, since – according to their website – Chevrolet of Morristown is owned by Saturn of Denville, it seems like you could call someone there to complain (973-361-0400)…or find out more info to see if the complaint is even legitimate or real.

  21. Smashville says:

    And yes, I realized that under “Two things” I listed 3 things.

  22. d0x says:

    Why did you buy the truck in the first place? Didnt you test drive it? Look up its features, any issues, anything at all about the truck?

    Why did you wait so long to drive down there? One of lifes biggest purchases is a car and it looks like you didnt do your homework before you plunked down your cash.

  23. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Hmm, I’ve never heard of a 3-day grace period here in NH. As far as I know, once you sign the papers, you own it. I suppose an individual dealer could certainly write a grace period into a sales contract, but can’t see where that would be to a dealer’s advantage to do that and I would expect they’d get burned by people who made impulse purchases and then had buyer’s remorse.

    Even if there was a three day grace period in the contract, I find it hard to believe a dealership would just suddenly go out of business without anyone knowing about it. I think if I were a car buyer, I’d be suspicious if I didn’t see cars on the lot or..oh..say…I saw workman taking down signs, removing furniture or whatever. I can’t imagine going from fully operational dealer to gone in three days. Could anyone actually remove all the inventory, fixtures, tools, signs, etc. in that time period? I can’t even clean out my basement in three days.

    I remain skeptical.

  24. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Well, they still have a website.

    “Thank you for your loyal patronage. Cheverolet of Morristown is now closed, but you can still find great productes at one of our other franchises”

    So, I guess Cheverolet of Morristown is gone.


  25. Youthier says:

    This guy is so passive about the whole thing I can’t work up an ounce of sympathy. You have a 3 day period yet just sit around trying to call the dealership? You don’t even consider calling Chevy themselves at any point?

    I also can’t imagine not checking out a dealership before purchasing a car. I would be looking into the reputation and asking for referrals from friends.

  26. Nygdan says:

    If the dealer made a deal with him to allow him a 3 day grace period, then he can turn in the truck for any reason, even if he no longer likes the colour.

    Further, a dealer will NOT allow you to drive to the lot, and ‘drop off’ a vehicle. I used to work for GMAC,dealers DO NOT permit this. You MUST call ahead, speak to someone, and make arrangements for the vehicle to be turned in.

    The dealers are extremely shady, they will ALWAYS tell you, for example, that you can lease a vehicle at their lot, and then return it at lease end to any GM dealer, but they will almost never actually accept a vehicle from another GM dealer, even if you buy from a Chevy dealer, but then try to return to another Chevy dealer.

    I don’t know if the person with this problem is assuming that there is a 3 day grace period, or if there was a specific promotion or deal worked out with the dealer. If thats the case, then he’s perfectly in the right to contact them to turn it in within 3 days. It does not matter if the dealer ignored him until after the 3-day grace period. You CAN NOT just waltz into the dealership and leave the car there or try to turn it in. They will not be legally responsible for anything that happens to it, and stuff happens all the time. THis guy would’ve been a fool to drop the car off at the dealership.

    IF the deal was a GMAC or other leasing company promotion, then he should contact them. He can try 1-800-886-6079 and ask to speak to ‘Roger’ to see about turning it in to another GMAC dealer. Calling GM or Chevy will not make a difference, IF the deal wasn’t a GM or Chevy deal. When you are purchasing or leasing a vehicle, you are doing so through the Dealer and the leasing company, and GMAC is a legally seperate organization from Chevy and GM.

  27. Smashville says:

    “The name and address of the business was: Ridgedale Chevrolet, 108 Ridgedale Avenue, Morristown, NJ.”

    The name of the dealership that was at 108 Ridgedale Avenue was Chevrolet of Morristown. If the buyer doesn’t even know who he bought the car from, I highly doubt he actually bought the car. Do we have scans of receipts and contracts and such?

  28. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    @Smashville: Good point. If he can’t even get the name of the right, he probably didn’t buy the car there.

    That, in turn, makes me wonder if he chose Chevrolet of Morristown because he knew it was out of business. An out-of-business dealer make the perfect patsy if they guy was out to pull some kind of scam. The dealer couldn’t complain and couldn’t disprove his claim that he bought the car there, so he claims he bought the car there and tries to get his money back from Chevrolet.