What should I do if I traded in a car with a dealership but the deal did not go through and when I got my old car back it had been vandalized?

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What should I do if I traded in a car with a dealership but the deal did not go through and when I got my old car back it had been vandalized?

Asked on May 12, 2012 under General Practice, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You should be able to sue the dealership for the cost to repair the car or an amount equivalent to its diminution in value. When the deal did not go through, or was rescinded, they were legally obligated to return your consideration, or what you paid for the deal--which included your trade-in car--in the same shape and value as it had been when you provided it to them. Returning a vandalized car is the same as if they tried to only give you back part of a down payment or deposit in this situation--it is not legal. Depending on how much your car was worth and how much it was vandalized, it may make sense to sue in small claims court, representing yourself.


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