New car with a lot of miles


We just bought a new 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee for my wife this weekend. We said yes Sat night. The car was delivered Sunday and we had to resign all of the paper work today (Monday), because they over promised on an interest rate they couldn’t deliver on. Tonight I drove the car to the gym and noticed it has over 1300 miles on it. When we test drove it I though that I saw 300 miles, which I wasn’t too concerned about, but tonight I realized that there was a 1 in front of it. I can’t believe I didn’t notice this when we test drove it, but what can we do? Is it too late? We live in Charlotte NC if that helps. The dealer is Keffer Jeep dodge on Independence Rd. Please, if you know of any recourse, share.


Three hundred or 1300 miles points to it being a dealer demonstrator and it’s technically considered a used car. The warranty period starts on the day in service; meaning the day it became a dealer demo.

A quick look at the NC statute shows that NC is no exception. Any vehicle that has been the subject of a transaction between dealer and customer or dealer and manufacturer means it is used. A dealer demo would fit the latter of those two situations.

You have no legal recourse that I can see and hopefully you spent some time reading the lengthy print on the contract that you had to resign.

Unfortunately we did not take the time to read what we signed. The dealer was closing and we were in a rush to get to the trainer. I feel really crappy about this whole experience now. Feeling some real buyer remorse. The dealer made no effort to let is know it was a used vehicle with significant millage. I know we should have taken the time to read through everything. We had a car break down, so we were in a pinch to get a replacement and rushed it a bit.

The dealer will say there is a distinction between a demo car and a used car

Since I don’t sell cars for a living, I can’t give you the exact details

Does the car at least look presentable?

I would be more upset about the higher interest rate than the relatively high mileage

The dealer agreed to cut us a check for the difference in the interest rate. So we are whole on that end. The car looks presentable, although the backup camera is already messing up. It’s done it a few times now, but the screen gets all distorted and is not useable. It has me really annoyed now and I’m thinking about not going to work tomorrow so that I can spend my day making a scene at the dealership.

Do you still have any of the copies of all the original paperwork or did you surrender all your copies? If you have any of the originals, look for the VIN number and see if it matches between the old paperwork and the new. If there is a mismatch, you have legal recourse.

Maybe you test drove one with 300 miles on it and they had an identical car with 1300 miles that they switched on you. If you signed the paperwork on sat night, you should have driven the car off the lot that night, usually the dealers will do everything they can to get you to take the vehicle off the lot right away, even if the interest rate hasn’t been approved. That counts as a delivery so you would have more difficulty backing out of the deal that way. Their delivering it to your house does not have the same legal status.

Even 300 miles is a lot of miles for a new car. The mileage should have been on the original paperwork as well.

I would advise not making a scene at this point and never, ever rush into a car deal no matter the reason. Rent a car for a few days if that’s what it takes. Take the contract and peruse it over a cup of coffee at McDonalds without a sword hanging over your head so to speak.

If push comes to shove on anything they have a contract with your signature and which you admittedly did not read.

I need to find the old paper work, but I think it’s all going to match up. We just rushed the process and should have looked closer. We didn’t drive it off the lot on Sat because it was late and the detailing shop had closed. The sales guy brought the car to us on Sunday. The trade in is still sitting in my driveway. They haven’t picked it up yet. Also, I was thinking, what would happen if we canceled the check for the down payment and moved the trade in somewhere else. Could we void the transaction some how?

Also, being that we resigned all of the paper around 7:30 tonight, I don’t think that it has been recorded or the financing finalized. Is there a way to stop the process if I get to them first thing tomorrow? I still like the car, we just want a new one without all of the miles. We want what we paid for.

Not being familiar with the laws in your state I can’t answer all of your questions but generally speaking, when the papers are signed, the keys handed over, and you drive off it’s a done deal.

This is all a murky mess and there are several ways out including the dealer taking the car back, putting you behind the wheel of an identical but brand new one, and so on but odds are you will pay something out of pocket for any of it.

If the reason your vehicle is sitting in your driveway is because it has a major mechanical problem then the dealer will really not care one way or the other about your old car. It would simply be a wholesale unit to be hauled off and done away with.

If everything matches and you re-signed all the paperwork and you are in possession of the vehicle, canceling the check and hiding the trade in could constitute fraud. I’m not a lawyer and this is not a site for legal advice, but I would caution to be very careful on your next step.

Two or three years from now, that 1300 miles won’t mean anything. It will become less significant as time goes on and you accumulate your own miles on it. That is assuming that nothing bad happened in that 1300 miles. You might want to do a Carfax on this vehicle. It could be worth the $20.

I don’t want to add to your worries, but you don’t just happen to live about 1300 miles from Colorado do you?

I found a NC vehicle inspection in the glove box from March 2013 done by the dealership. The jeep has been used by the dealership for the last 6-7 months. I’m going to call the dealer tomorrow to see what they will do, if anything. They are one of the big dealerships here and I thought a reputable one. Dick Keffer even went to my high school. The issue with the back up camera needs to be address and if there are more issues with the car, NC does have a lemon law. We are also missing one of the keys. The dealer couldn’t find the other key. My guess is its at whichever employees house “owned” the car prior to us. I guess as recourse, there’s always the option for an internet smear campaign and maybe a filling with the BBB. Won’t make me whole, but I bet it makes me feel better. Maybe I’ll drop a few friendly warnings to other while on the lot.

A lot of the dealers around here give you some time if you are not satisfied. Some up to 30 days. So talk to them about a different vehicle-maybe.

On the other hand, how long does it take to put 1300 miles on a new car? Maybe a couple weeks and you’d be right back where you are now. Really 1300 miles is not much. I understand you don’t like it, and I didn’t like having 14 miles, but maybe they’ll throw in oil changes or something for a year.

Now for the lecture part, what did you think that they were going to let you test drive a brand new car off the lot? That never happens. That’s why they have demonstrators for people to drive. So that’s the first clue. Then you have to read the paperwork. Don’t rush it. Plan for a few hours. We can usually blow a whole afternoon from start to finish and usually know what we want.

Also, I know its tempting but dropping the BBB threat, news media, etc. will accomplish nothing except hard feelings. Complaining to other customers can get you thrown out or sued for libel. I’ll bet somewhere in there the saleman referred to it as a demo unit and how can it be a 2014 if it has been used for the past 6 months. I suspect all the information was right there and you just didn’t pick up on it in your haste. Or if the alternative is that they were trying to pawn a 2013 off as a 2014, that would be fraud.

I did think it a little odd we test drove the one we were buying. I even said “oh, we are buying that one” when we were talking about the sale. I know we should have looked closer, honestly we were both exhausted. We had been car shopping for over 12 hours that day. We were rushing it, because we had also bought a house a week ago and should have been moving as opposed to car shopping. My wife was pushing that we get her a new car that weekend after hers broke down on the way home from work. I do know for a fact that there was never mention of it being a demo, whatsoever. It does make sense know though. I asked about one with a V8 as well as one with the same option, but in a different color and he would act like he was looking around and then say, nope only this one. This was our first time buying a new car, so I guess we were naive, but did expect that when I go to a new car lot and ask for a new 2014 with these options, that they don’t sell me a used car for new car pricing. It is a 2014 and it did have a NC DOT vehicle emissions test done on it in March. It musts have been one of the first 2014s. As far as hard feelings, they are there now and will be there if the dealer refuses to do anything. So, I don’t think I will mind their hard feeling. There are plenty of other jeep dealers in this city.

I’d be interested to know if there was any negotiations on price or did you pay sticker? If you acquired the car for a greater discount than one would normally expect to haggle towards on a new vehicle then maybe the extra mileage has been ‘accounted’ for. Unfortunately I have the feeling they managed to get rid of a demonstrator for a much higher figure than they otherwise would in a normal above board business transaction. I don’t think they’re going to take the car back but I’m a cynic in these sorts of things. Your best hope might be some adjustment to the price and these problems you are having should be covered under warranty anyway n’est pas?

Sorry but this story (rushing into a deal and not reading the contract) has a cringe worthy value of about eight and a half out of ten where ten involves an oil light on for a week followed by catastrophic engine failure. Speaking from experience forget about litigation, take a deep breath and calmly call the dealer about your concerns. Best of luck to you.

Each state has their own laws regarding what constitutes a Demo car. Here in NH as long as the dealer never registered the car they can sell it as new. As far as I know there is no mileage limit. I’ve seen vehicles sold as new with as much as 10k miles on them. The car may have been used as a demo, but because the dealer never registered it…it can still be sold as NEW.

Personally I wouldn’t worry about 1300 miles - as long as you got a good discounted price.

I think many states have laws that give the buyer 3 days to reconsider a major purchase, such as a car, if there is financing involved - which is the case here. These laws are on the books to protect consumers who get into agreements with payments they can’t afford to make. Since this car had some miles on it when you picked it up the dealer can’t claim you turned his new car into a used one by putting a few more miles on it. I think you call the dealer immediately and say you want out of the the deal. Then when that is all resolved go to another dealer and start over and take your time the next go around.

I did think it a little odd we test drove the one we were buying

I would find it odd if you did not test drive the actual car you were buying. I always do. With my last purchase, the salesperson wanted to just pull out the first one in the lot, closest to the door as the one I would actually buy after we had just test drove a different one. His reasoning? They are all the same and I already put the keys to the test drive one back (i.e. convenience to him). They are not all the same, the one I test drove is more of a known quantity than some other unknown one on their lot.

Just get them to give you the right price for a demo vehicle.
1300 miles is really not that much when you consider how many customers test drive vehicles and for how far each. ( In this town a typical test drive is at least twenty miles ; from our dealer through town to the west end , get on I-40 exit16, head to the east end exit 26, and back to the dealer through town…=20m )
Even farther if they want to go out on the rez roads too.
PLUS, make them get, cut, and program you a second key…all cars come with two keys…no excuses.
That reprogramming will negate the previous key from starting it unles they find it and reprogram all three together.

I bought a demo pickup in 1979. It had been broken in to, the radio stolen, back window pane broken and a slight dent on the roof.
They fixed it
priced it right
and I still have that truck in my driveway today !

It is the practice here to pick out the vehicle you are interested in and take it out for a test drive. Most cars that are sold have up to 100 miles on them. There are no demos for the sake of demos at the dealers around here.

Once you sign the paperwork on the vehicle, if you don’t take immediate delivery, they have to put in a sold sign and move it to a different location on the lot so that no one else takes it out for a test drive.

The first new car my wife bought was a Honda. She and I had looked at several cars and had settled on one and told the dealer that she would be back later to close the deal. She went back later that week and signed the paperwork and the following Saturday, we went to pick up the car. The dealer had the car quarantined as required, but he had substituted an almost identical car, but one that was more expensive. My wife hadn’t realized that they had done that. We did not accept that car and they had to write up a new deal on the car that we had originally picked out and gave us a little better deal for our trouble.