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Damaged VW Golf TDI sold to me as new!

Three years ago I bought a 2011 VW Golf TDI form a dealer in Roanoke, VA. Since my husband is not able to drive anymore, I have decided to sell it. No problem finding a buyer. Purchase contract, money down and date set to turn it over – tomorrow. Saturday he tells me that he will not buy it because it has been in an accident. Not on my watch, I say. Why does he think this? First, the letters on the hatch are DTI, not TDI, as they should be. Also, the right rear tail light has condensation and finger prints on the inside. I looked for myself and it is all too true. This car was sold to me as a new car. Since I am honest, I can’t sell it without disclosing this but who knows what else is wrong? I just don’t know what to do. I sure could use some advice. Thanks, ahead.

Unfortunately, I don’t think that there is very much that you can do at this point.
Most people would be tempted to file legal action against that dealership, but the legal principle of Laches would be a valid defense for the dealership.

The principle here is that courts only want to deal with civil matters in a timely manner, and failure to file within a specified period of time (usually no more than 2 years) can result in dismissal of a lawsuit. In layman’s terms, Laches translates to…If you snooze, you lose. I am not saying this in order to criticize you because you were not aware of this situation until very recently, but standard legal principles could likely stand in your way if you attempt to take the dealership to court.

And, even if you are allowed to press ahead with a lawsuit, proving that the damage occurred before you owned the car could be very difficult.

If I was in your situation, I think that I would contact the Department of Consumer Affairs (which could be run on either the state or county level, depending on where you live), and ask those folks if you have any recourse.

Maybe hubby dented fender and did not tell u?

So sell it to someone else. And you are under no obligation either legally or morally to say anything whatsoever about the car.

I too have been told that a car I’d bought brand new had “been in an accident”. I knew for a fact this was not true. The person evaluating the car for the dealer, or maybe the salesman, was claiming this to get the price way down. I simply went elsewhere.

It is also possible that the potential buyer went to CarFax. CarFax reports are known to be loaded with bogus data, and often not data that their carefully-manipulated image suggests they would have.

But, again, sell it to someone else. You know you car hasn’t been in an accident, so your conscience should be clear.

@cavell That comment is just plain rude.

a minor bump could have easily happened in the dealer lot. they could have gotten the careless employee who damaged it to fix it, thus the letter reversal. I can easily imagine the dealer still selling the car as new. sell it. no worries :slight_smile:

In 3 years nobody noticed you car said DTI ???

Ok, so switch the letters back to “TDI” and sell it to someone else. You never wrecked it yourself and don’t know what happened to the car before you bought it.

If you feel obligated, you could tell a prospective buyer that you think it might have had some bodywork done to it before you bought it. I myself would not feel obligated.

Sell it and move on.

I agree with WESW. Cars are damaged on the lot or in transit. They are repaired. Its nothing new or to worry about. If you want you can have a body shop inspect the area to see if there is any other evidence of more serious damage but a hatch replacement or paint touch up and finger prints on a tail light are pretty minor. A good body shop would have removed the lettering before painting and you know, some of the kids these days that would have done the buffing can’t read very well.

My uncle bought a new 1978 Plymouth Volare. After he owned the car for a year, he noticed it had a pin stripe down one side but not the other. The car was out of warranty, so the dealer would not correct the factory error. I saw a new Studebaker Lark. It had “LARK” on the left frong fender, but “LARR” on the right front fender. The VW in question may have come that way from the factory.

It’s also possible that the word “new” could be used to describe a dealer demonstrator or program car with many buyers assuming those are new cars instead of used.

What I don’t get is how someone could motor around for 3 years and not notice the DTI bit or have it pointed out by someone in all of that time.

Sometimes even big spelling errors get missed for a long time.

For several years there has been a giant “NO PARKIG” sign painted on one area of the asphalt parking lot next door. I assume that if the lot owner had seen the “N” was missing from “PARKIG” he would have had the painter come back and fix it. Apparently not.

@VolvoV70: Why would it be out-of-line for somebody to suggest a husband tried to pull the wool over OP’s eyes? Spouses lie about much larger issues that this from time to time…and if OP is convinced that somebody wrecked that car (I’m not, BTW) there are two logical culprits… (Or maybe their son wrecked it while watching the house while parents were away, then ran a brothel out of said house to get the funds to make things almost-but-not-quite right :wink:

If you decide to switch the letters, keep in mind that the paint may have faded around the current letters so that it’s noticeable after the switch.

When I worked in a new car dealership, we occasionally saw new cars come off the delivery truck with minor damage. They were always sent to our body shop guys who did their magic before the cars went out on the lot to be sold.

It was standard practice.

Its a used car,its not going to be perfect-find another buyer ,odds are this car will look far worse in six months,the real reason for the cars existence,doesnt give a hoot about the letter sequence(bet it runs just fine)beware of low ballers-Kevin (Car Fax is overrated)

I’m not so sure a demonstrator car could legally be sold as a new car

A few years ago, I was browsing the lot at a GMC dealer

I saw a crew cab truck I liked, and took a closer look. The price was right, and it was prominently marked as a demonstrator. There was a big bold sign that any fool would have seen.

Our 57 Ford was a demonstrator. It was sold as new with the balance of the warranty. As long as it was never titled, it was still new, and dealerships didn’t need to title it, just put the demo plates on it. Of course the price was greatly reduced due to the 3000 miles already put on it.


Is there a limit as to how many miles a demonstrator can have, yet still be sold as a new car?

A demonstrator can be sold as new since it hasn’t been titled, but usually comes with a big discount. The downside is that some of these “demos” had their warranty card punched (meaning the warranty went into effect some time before) so you get whatever warranty remains. Bmw for example has been sued over the practice.
@db4690 from what I have read some states do have a mileage limit on being sold as a new car but can’t remember which ones at the moment.