What to do if an auto dealership took our new car back but hasn’t returned the car that we traded in?

UPDATED: Apr 10, 2012

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Apr 10, 2012Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What to do if an auto dealership took our new car back but hasn’t returned the car that we traded in?

My husband and I purchased a new vehicle a week and a half ago but 3 days after signing the contract the dealership said they couldn’t get us financed; we had to return the vehicle. However, the dealership has already sent off ther car that we traded in to the auction and we still haven’t gotten it back (its been 6 days). The dealership did gives us a rental but they still refuse to tell us where our trade in is. Is there anything we can do?

Asked on April 10, 2012 under General Practice, Georgia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Even if the sale had to be rescinded because you could not qualify for financing, the dealership may not keep your trade-in vehicle: when a sale is rescinded, the parties are to be put back in the same position they occupied pre-sale. The dealership must either return your vehicle in the same shape it  was in or they must give you its then-current fair market (e.g. "blue book") value. If the dealership does not do one or the other, you could sue it for the value of your car. If the value of your car was less than the limit for small claims court, you might wish to sue in small claims, acting as  your own attorney to save on legal fees.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption