Dealer sold FWD as AWD

I bought a 08 from a nationwide used dealer last April. First line of the vehicle window sticker says all wheel drive and based on my research I paid an AWD price.

We got our first snow this week and I thought it slipped a lot for AWD. Based on the VIN and looking underneath I’ve determined it’s FWD and not AWD as represented. There are no other interior or exterior markings to determine the drive type.

I’ve got an appointment with the service manager to validate the drive type.

My desire is to have an Enclave with the features I purchased including AWD as opposed to the price difference. I only buy replace my vehicles about every 10 years.

Any ideas what should be considered a fair resolution for me and the dealer?

Since the dealer committed fraud in selling you the car, I think he’d be wise to buy the car back from you for the total amount you paid for it. Otherwise, the Consumer Affairs Division of your state’s Attorney General’s Office might be interested in seeing your paperwork. They might even decide to look into some of his other sales transactions.

You should be entitled to the difference in price between a used Enclave with AWD and the price of a used Enclave with just FWD. Or, if you want a different vehicle, they should be able to locate one for you without too much difficulty, given their “nationwide” status. If this nationwide used car dealership is honorable, they will agree to your choice of a partial refund or a replacement vehicle without too much difficulty.

If they balk at giving you a an acceptable settlement, then I suggest that you file a complaint with the governmental Office of Consumer Affairs, at the local, county, or state level–depending on where you live.

Don’t bother wasting your time with the Better Business Bureau (frequently nicknamed the Better For Business Bureau), as it is merely a private “old boys club” that does little if anything to actually help consumers.

Lesson learned – always have an independent mechanic do a pre-purchase inspection before buying. Always run the VIN with a local dealer to get the build sheet and options.


I hope you still have that window sticker…

What he said.

The window sticker could have been an honest mistake but if you do not have the paperwork and this dealer “can’t find” their copies this could get sticky.

What I would want if I were in your shoes, and since any future resale value also depends on this, is for them to buy the vehicle back with maybe a very slight amount held back for mileage driven up to this point.
If push comes to shove and you can prove the AWD/FWD thing they would never stand a chance in court.

If you have the paperwork that states it is AWD (it sound like you do), take it back to the selling dealer and demand that they take it back and find an AWD Enclave for you, or return your money.

Definitely have the window sticker that states All Wheel Drive as the first feature. Additionally this SUV was priced higher than than a FWD so a “misprint” defense will not work.

Question 1, is this a dealer that regularly practices deception?
I do not know how one would find out. So I think you are entitled to something better than you got, be it an 09, or an 08 with 4wd, as you wanted. I would give them the first stab at the cat to make things right, and not be afraid to ask for lifetime oil changes.

I hear your dilemma as it’s not easy to know from driving until it does snow, what type of drive system you have. Crawling under the car and seeing, or not, a rear differential is a practice not everyone is accustomed to doing. That it was used, further complicates the problem. The necessary paperwork, as everyone has said, is very important. Otherwise, a great sell job on your part,trading it in with a loss or living with it may be your only alternatives. I got results one time w/o the necessary written agreement with the statement of an honest salesman who backed me with the business. Is that in the cards ?