I recently bought a car and signed a contract now the dealership says that I have to return the car. I’ve had the car for approximately 3 week’s and they can’t locate my trade.

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I recently bought a car and signed a contract now the dealership says that I have to return the car. I’ve had the car for approximately 3 week’s and they can’t locate my trade.

I recently bought a car
approximately 3 week’s ago
and was just told I have to
return the car. I have a
signed contract. Is this
legal?

Asked on March 10, 2017 under Business Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You would only have to return the car to them if YOU did something wrong, the most common example of which would be if you failed to pay for the car--either directly (e.g. did not send a check; a check bounced; etc.) or indirectly (e.g. if you applied for financing which was denied; if your financing is denied, you need to come up with the money yourself)--or if there was some other significant wrongdoing on your part (e.g. they discovered you lied and committed fraud on your application; they found out that "your" trade-in had been stolen, so it was not yours and you could not transfer it to them; etc.). And even then, if there was some significant breach or wrongdoing on your part, they have to return to you whatever you paid to them for the car: they are not allowed to keep whatever you paid or gave them (e.g. your money or your trade-in or both) while also getting their car back. So unless there was some significant problem *and* they are returning what you gave them, you should not need to return the car.
(One exception: if they accidentally gave you the wrong car--not the one your ordered or bought--then they don't need to give you back what you paid--but they do need to give you the right car to replace the wrong one.)

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You would only have to return the car to them if YOU did something wrong, the most common example of which would be if you failed to pay for the car--either directly (e.g. did not send a check; a check bounced; etc.) or indirectly (e.g. if you applied for financing which was denied; if your financing is denied, you need to come up with the money yourself)--or if there was some other significant wrongdoing on your part (e.g. they discovered you lied and committed fraud on your application; they found out that "your" trade-in had been stolen, so it was not yours and you could not transfer it to them; etc.). And even then, if there was some significant breach or wrongdoing on your part, they have to return to you whatever you paid to them for the car: they are not allowed to keep whatever you paid or gave them (e.g. your money or your trade-in or both) while also getting their car back. So unless there was some significant problem *and* they are returning what you gave them, you should not need to return the car.
(One exception: if they accidentally gave you the wrong car--not the one your ordered or bought--then they don't need to give you back what you paid--but they do need to give you the right car to replace the wrong one.)


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