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CAN i return a new car purchase if the dealer lied to me?

My friend purchased a new car and I used to sell cars so he asked me to help him out via phone with the F&I guy at the dealer. The F&I guy lied to me and told me the MSRP was $21,200 and they sold it to them for invoice at $19795. In reality the MSRP was $19795 and that was also the sales price. So my buddy got ripped off, but has already left the lot. We live in SOUTH eastern NC and are in the military any help would be awesome!!!

I don’t know if you have anything you can legally ask for, but I’d get you two and several of your buddies in uniform and go to the dealership, ask to talk to the sales manager, and make your case. Maybe he/she will offer to help out.

But next time do more homework, check the web for prices. Good luck!

Well “lie” is not a legal term. Fraud and puffing is. The dealer is allowed to stretch the truth through puffing but fraud is a severe form of it. The thousand dollar difference in the two prices I think would be seen as normal puffing and not fraud so you really don’t have much of a case. Someone should have at least looked at the window sticker though to see what the MSRP was, then it would have been clear.

On the other hand, if you go talk to the local JAG officer, they just might put some pressure on the dealer for a little refund. It was not unheard of back in the 70’s for the base commander to raise holy heck with unscrupulous vendors taking advantage of their troops and would threaten to put the establishment off limits if they didn’t toe the line.

JMO, but I don’t see any actual fraud involved here at all and puffing is legal in the sales world.

The window MSRP is 19795 and that’s what your friend paid; just like anyone else would pay. Anyone who buys a new car is going to pay the actual window MSRP; maybe a bit more but never less.

MSRPs can also vary based on a number of things; option packages, discounts on those packages, dealer add-ons, etc.

Your friend is a big boy and signed his name on the paperwork so I assume he either agreed with the contract or blindly signed a contract without reading one word and is now suffering a bit of buyer’s remorse.

I’d say your friend should suck it up and abide by what he agreed to when he signed.
If the dealer called up and said a mistake was made and that more money would have to be added to the kitty I doubt your friend would be very enthusiastic over that idea.
And your friend dragged you into this and on the phone no less.

The MSRP is the sticker price and is that is easy to see on any new car, it has to be posted on the sticker usually on a side window. The invoice price is not posted, but in this day of computers it pretty easy to look up. If your friend looked at the car in person, then you have no case at all. Was this whole transaction completed via the phone?

The transaction was basically an arms-length agreement. Unless the window sticker was altered there’s really no basis here. You buddy bought the car at a price that he felt was reasonable, one would assume based on what he felt was a worthwhile price.

If you are going to trust a dealer to answer a question you don’t already know the answer to, you’re in trouble. Your friend should have done more research than he would buying stereo speakers on line. This is the second most expensive item many of us buy and the dealer has mouths to feed of his own. Tell your friend to “get smart” next time. You should know too. You were duped as well. Oil companies over charge for their commodities as does everyone else when ever possible. Many times their profits are based upon deception and outright lying as well. We are not in Oz.
I agree with AL5000.

It doesn’t matter what the dealer told you the price is…It’s public information and your friend should have done his/her homework BEFORE he/she talked with the dealer.

After you find out all the information you can about the car you’re interested in buying…then you go negotiate with the dealer on a price. If you don’t like the deal then WALK.

Fraud would be when you buy a new car and it turned out to be used or in a accident and that wasn’t disclosed to you…THAT WOULD BE FRAUD.

And even if it was fraud, it’s your word against theirs. You don’t have anything in writing that claims MSRP is higher. So you have no case, and unless you have a solid case for a lawsuit, the dealership is not going to just roll over and let you return the car.

The MSRP is on the window sticker and available at sites like Edmunds, KBB, or NADA. They will also tell you what others are paying near Fayetteville. As long as the real MSRP is disclosed on the sticker, your friend was given the opportunity to see it. No matter what the salesman said, it will be your word against his. I don’t think there is much more that can be done.

The OP states they used to sell cars so one has to wonder if the OP ever puffed a car during a sales pitch.

MSRP 19795
Price paid 19795
I don’t see any fraud at all and the thought crosses my mind that maybe the buyer had second thoughts about this car (a.k.a. buyer’s remorse) and someone is looking for a way out.

Did the F&I guy tell you that the MSRP was $21,200 or did he tell you that the sticker was $21,200? There’s a big difference. The vehicle may have had a dealer sticker on it with dealer added options, like a $1295 wax job etc. The dealer may have also added an extended warrantee to the price that your friend is not even aware of. There might have also been legitimate dealer added items like custom wheels etc.

While we are on the subject of extras, shipping is always an add-on and there is often a legitimate advertising charge. Both of those could easily make the sticker cost $1000 more than MSRP.

MSRP is anything the speaker says it is. (Hint the “S” in the MSRP is the “Suggested”) price so it is meaningless.

My suggestion is never even look at a MSRP. It is totally meaningless. If you are buying at car, why would you car what they might suggest. You are going to pay what you agree to, not what someone suggest. If you like I suggest you give me $10,000 dollars are you going to give it to me? If so let me know and I will send you my address.

MSRP is anything the speaker says it is. (Hint the “S” in the MSRP is the “Suggested”) price so it is meaningless.

This statement is true only if the “speaker” happens to also be the "manufacturer. The MSRP is a fixed quantity.


First of all, let me offer my sincere thanks to you and your friend for your service to our country. Men and women like yourselves are what keep our country strong. It means more to me than you can know.

The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) not only is not binding on the dealer, who can sell the car for whatever he can get for it, but it also does not include delivery charges (from the port to the dealer), dealer added options, prep costs, and any taxes. In any transaction it’s important to understand exactly what the numbers mean. And if the numbers on the sales paperwork aren’t what you understood them to be, simply don’t sign until/unless you get a satisfactory explanation.

And it’s always wise to avoid getting in the middle of someone else’s transactions. Good intentions can cause soured frienships. I hope yours didn’t.