Should I worry about my deposit?

Hey all,

I just wanted to get your thoughts on my current car purchasing situation. I put a $500 deposit down on a new Honda Accord using a credit card. Now this car had just come off the truck, literally, and we were lucky because they previously did not have that color earlier in the day when we first talked to them.

A few facts that may help form your opinion. This dealership offered the lowest price, but only by a small amount and it was the farthest away. When I asked the salesman whether he would lower the price to make it worth the trip, he said no, but said that what they offer is superior service. After a bad experience with a more local dealership, I decided I would go back to this one. I am purchasing the car with cash, so no concerns about financing rejection scams. The dealer itemized all fees and taxes via email, so I had a written account of my out-of-door expenses. The reason they wanted the deposit was to secure the car for me and so that they could start the paperwork. That way, I only need to come in test drive the vehicle, sign a few papers, and be out the door as quickly as possible.

Now, I have the vin number of the car I am buying, I have a faxed receipt with the correct vin, signed by the salesman, but not by me, with the complete breakdown of price, fees, and taxes and it is the exact out-of-door amount we agreed to by email before the deposit.

Now, here is what happened. I get a call back saying that the car had a very small–size of a pinhead–scratch on the rear bumper, almost unnoticeable. He gave me two options: 1) delay delivery till next week, but with an as yet determined time, probably a “few days” 2) pick up car as-is, bring it back later to get fixed, but with tight constraint on when we could bring it back b/c this repair is on Honda’s dime b/c the nick happened on the truck. He said that they really cared about how we were going to answer our customer satisfaction survey, and he wanted us to say “car delivered in perfect condition,” so he preferred delaying delivery. He also said that they were not going to do a quickie job on the car, but have it completely re-baked it so that the fix matches perfectly with the rest of the car. He also mentioned that things like this just happen sometimes on about 1% of cars that are delivered. In this case, it was unfortunate because whatever little thing hit the car did so just one inch above the plastic protector. It is the only car in that color in stock.

I was not too concerned with using the credit card for the deposit, because I knew that I could dispute the charge if anything goes awry, so I didn’t protest that at all. Also, this dealership is a Honda “council of excellence” president’s award winner–whatever that means exactly. But ultimately, I always felt a level of trust with this dealership…just a gut feeling.

So now, I am waiting and soliciting opinions. Do I have anything to worry about? Again, I figure I can cancel my deposit with relative ease if they try to pull a fast one. But I am still somewhat concerned that this car magically returns with window etching or something. I know the power is still in my hands to walk away, but does anyone know of a law I can mention should things sour (I live in NJ).

Thanks all who read my long post. I hope this thread will also help others in their quest to buy cars.

If you’re really fussy, which i think is the case, you end up in situations like this. You’re dealing with a ratings vulture here. They want to cheat their way to an award. Help them out. They’re fussy too and you can become a co-dependent. It’s not a bad thing. The other way is to say, “put a spot of touch up paint on it and I’ll say that you are perfect”. The only thing you have to do is completely change your life. It isn’t easy and may be impossible. I like their option best. Let them meke it perfect and be happy afterward. I think you can trust them. At least they didn’t try to hide it and force you to accept it with a chip in the paint.

I would not be concerned. They want to sell the car and they have your deposit that holds the car for you. If you don’t want the car you should ask for your deposit back. You probably have paperwork that gives you your rights. Dealers don’t like to return deposits because it means you will go elsewhere, but they want your good will also.

In two weeks you are going to back into something anyway and you will have a scratch. Consider it a benefit because now if it happens you will be so upset.

No, in my opinion, you do not have a problem situation here. Allow them to do the repair job prior to delivery that they have suggested and relax.

You have already shown that you have good savvy by putting the deposit on a credit card (easily disputed with the bank in case of a problem) and by paying cash. Continue to show good judgment by allowing the dealership to repair this properly before you take delivery.

I know that you want this beautiful car a.s.a.p., but in this case, deferring gratification is the best approach.

I agree this is not a problem situation. Things like this happen. Personally, I would take the car and if the scratch really is a pinhole, never return.


I don’t believe for a second that they would actually bother to remove the bumper and “rebake” it. In any case, you can’t really “bake” a bumper like you can the rest of the car (before anything is added to the body) - the plastics simply won’t withstand the heat. Most are thermoplastic, which means significant heating can actually warp them. You can heat them some, but I wouldn’t ever confuse it with the “baked” finish on your car…

But regardless, it sounds like the dealer is trying to do the right thing. Nothing they have said would concern me at all.

Well, the 1% thing might - the real numbers are generally much higher - it is amazing how much of this sort of damage occurs in transit.

Get the car and bring it back later. please post back with your decision.

Hey all,

Thanks for reading my general paranoia and allaying the concern that I had. I agree with all of you that there is probably nothing to worry about, nevertheless there was a small part of my brain thinking through the possibilities. This was my first new car purchase, and I learned a lot during the process.

Anyway, I had already decided to have them fix the car, not because I care that much about the chip, but, as others have said, when paying this much on something, what is a few days versus getting the car in perfect condition. No doubt worse scratches will happen in the car’s infancy, but there is no good reason for me to rush into the delivery. I’ll reply again when I have the car. Thanks again.

Nothing to worry about. Many problems like this are fixed during dealer prep and no one knows anything about it. I wouldn’t want them doing a great deal of painting on this but the salesman is not going to decide that anyway. $500 is pretty cheap. We put $3000 cash on our Acura for the weekend until Monday.

I think you should go and look at the car yourself, and determine whether or not the “scratch” is worth worrying about. Why do you want to take someone else’s word for it?

There’s no need to worry about your deposit. The supposed scratch has nothing to do with your deposit.