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

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 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Even if the sale had to be rescinded because you could not qualify for financing, the dealership may not keep your trade-in vehicle: when a sale is rescinded, the parties are to be put back in the same position they occupied pre-sale.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.


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