Can the dealership repossess my car if they didn't collect the full sales amount?

I have an odd situation. I purchased a used car for cash (debit card). The dealer gave me a receipt for the full sale amount. I got the title and registered the car. Five weeks after the deal was signed and I took the car, the dealer contacts me and says that only $6000 of the $8000 purchase price went from my bank to theirs. Apparently, there was some sort of mistake made when they swiped my card and entered the amount. I confirmed with my bank that only $6000 left my account. I have the title, registration and possession of the car. I have spent several aggravating hours sorting out this mess. My question is, can the dealership repossess the car if I don’t pay the additional $2000? Is there a time limit to how long they had to inform me about their mistake?

Yes, they made a mistake but you have not fulfill your end of the contract. They can take the car back and return the 6k unless you agree to pay the balance. Regarding the time limit that you mentioned, it’s called statue of limitation. You can look up the details for your state, but usually it is in years, not weeks.

I’m not a lawyer, but I believe if they take you to court, they will win. You willingly signed a legal contract specifying you will pay $8000 for the car.

It may be due to a clerical error by the dealer, but as of now, you didn’t meet your end of the contract.

You agreed to pay $8,000 for the car. I don’t think it’s right to use this situation to try to get out of that obligation.

IMHO, why is this a debatable item ? You owe them $2k for the car. Pay them.

“it’s called statue of limitation”

Where is that particular sculpture located?
I think that I would like to see it!


(the term is actually Statute of Limitations.)

Humor aside, the dealership is entitled to the full amount that you agreed to pay for the car that you have in your possession.
As to whether the dealership can repossess the car, I believe that they can.
And, they could also swear out a complaint that could result in the OP being arrested.

Rather than trying to argue the details of the debit card transaction, or to complain about the aggravation involved in sorting out the mess, I think that the OP should concentrate on paying his debt immediately in order to avoid legal problems.

My question is, can the dealership repossess the car if I don't pay the additional $2000?

YES…You have a signed legal contract which states you will pay them $8,000 for a vehicle and you only paid them $6,000.

Is there a time limit to how long they had to inform me about their mistake?

Probably…but it’s in years.

Yes they can. You owe the $2K so why not pay? Any court would take one look at the situation and the dealership would win and you would lose.

Besides everything that’s been said so far…if you delay this the dealership can and WILL ruin your credit. I suggest you fix this ASAP.

What kind of aggravation. You called your bank and they confirmed that only $6000 was taken from your account. You have not held up to your end of the bargain, and you owe them $2000.
Or did you have to don your winter firs and snow shoes and tread off to the bank…in a blizzard through bear country 17 miles to the bank.

Weather it’s a clerical error on their part, there should not be a penalty to them of $2000.
Most likely the bookkeeper found the mistake at the end of the month and that’s why it took so long.

Man up and pay the $2000. If they had mistakenly taken out $10,000, you’d be at their door yelling and screaming. Quit looking for excuses to get out of this. Had you dropped in and paid it promptly they may have given you a couple of coupons for oil changes, for your troubles.

If you let this ride and refuse to settle up then you are no better than a thief.


You agreed to pay $8K. You’ve only paid $6K. You still owe them $2K.
Be a man. Stand behind your agreement. Pay up.
Besides, if you don’t they have every moral and legal right to repossess your vehicle. You haven’t fulfilled your end of the contract.

Does your word mean nothing to you?

Remember one thing, in relative terms, unless you are independently wealthy, you are David and they are Goliath. It’s doubtful you have legal council on retainer that might cost you nothing additional if they start proceedings against you. Whether you are found justly right in holding back or not is not the issue. It’s morally the right thing to do.


you might win if you have a receipt for 8k, but you would have to lie and commit perjury in court.
if you are willing to perjure yourself and risk prison, give it a shot. everyone will know you are lying tho, even if they can t prove it.

I might ask them to accept 1950.00, just to make a point, but 2k is stealing, felony level.

Wes made me chuckle. OJ Simpson tried solving a civil problem by committing a criminal act. Look what happened to him!

“It’s morally the right thing to do.”

“If they had mistakenly taken out $10,000, you’d be at their door yelling and screaming.”


“Does your word mean nothing to you?”

Just the fact that the OP seems to be trying to weasel out of paying for goods that he received, tells me that his word may not mean anything to him.

IMHO, morality has been seriously downgraded if people believe that they are entitled to seize upon some kind of technicality in order to avoid paying a bill that they willingly incurred.
In reality, there is no technicality that the OP can use in order to escape his legal obligation, but I find it very disturbing that he thinks he can–or should–try to skip-out on his debt.

Wow, you people are being a little harsh in your opinions of my morality. I never wrote that I was trying to weasel out of any obligations. I was simply asking if I was legally obligated to pay this. I spent an entire day at the dealership and my bank trying to sort out this mess, and the dealership never apologized. How is this different than buying a pizza for ten dollars, but only being charged eight dollars? Then, months later, Sal the Pizza Guy says you owe him two dollars, fork it over.

no difference at all.

Also, if they had overcharged me, how much trouble do you think I would have trying to get the money back a couple of months later? I guarantee that they wouldn’t be running for their checkbook with a happy smile.

You are honest and ethical, or you are not. How would you feel if the bank had taken $10,000 out of your account rather than the $8,000 you had agreed to?

I’d feel bad about it, and have the notion that it wouldn’t be very easy to get the money back.