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The Yaris Chronicles (Part XV)

The nightmare that will not end…

No sooner do I reconcile myself to just paying out the wazoo for the '09 than I become aware of a $500 rebate Toyota is offering on '08 models and also confirm that an '08 with one less “package” I was considering is still available. I gird my loins and make the dreaded call to the dealership: I can save $1,800 total on this other car; what can we do about this? Can you trade? Can we cancel? He confers with his superior and tells me I can walk away without my $500 deposit.

Now, I admit I should forfeit the $500 just for being a pain in the butt, but looking at this buyer’s order, I see where it says, “special order or locate non-refundable deposit____initials,” there are no intials; next to that is “deposit” with the $500 noted. Now, in the leasing business, “deposit” is (potentially) refundable, but “fee” is not; this doesn’t say “fee” and the “non-refundable” section is NOT initialed.

Various people are saying a) it’s gone, and b) by law, they have to refund it.

Any dealers out there know for sure?

I’d get a lawyer.

My initial thought was, if the dealer can sell you the 08, then all monies paid should count. However, he incurred expenses in bringing a car for you from another dealership, so that pretty well iced his position of no refund, and I think it is an understandable one.

If you cancel, and change you mind, then still save $1300.

I’m not a lawyer and this will probably vary by state, but you gave them the deposit in exchange for them finding and transporting the car for you and that’s a legal contract regardless of whether you squiggled your initials on some piece of paper.

I suppose you could probably get a lawyer to wheedle the 500 bucks back from them but for one you’d probably spend close to 500 bucks on legal fees and two the dealer will probably tell you to take a frikkin’ hike, no '08 for you!

I’d argue with that (although I’m not a lawyer either)… If this were a “non-refundable locate and transport” fee (non-refundable), then that box would (and should) have been checked and initialed; that’s what it’s there for. But it wasn’t. Maybe an oversight, but it wasn’t.

But apparently they can do whatever they want if you tick them off badly enough unless you want to pay an attorney more than $500 to fight them.

I’m still $1300 ahead, even with taking that hit, so no worries…

I’ve never had a problem getting a deposit back, I’ve had to do so 3 times for various reasons. Never even a second thought

Did you sign a “buyer’s order”??? This guy is just ticked off and not inclined to refund my money; it may be worth a call to an attorney after all…

Well, the part where you gave them the deposit in exchange for them getting the car for you was a verbal contract, which is every bit as binding as a paper contract. The only trouble with verbal contracts is that everything is sort of he said/she said if there’s a problem with them, so they make you sign a paper one so there’s no confusion. You could argue that they didn’t inform you it was non-refundable, but it’d be an uphill fight and you’re definitely not going to get anywhere with the “they didn’t check the box” defense.

However, like realblinky says, usually their attitude is the customer is always right and if they didn’t actually incur too many expenses getting the car and you still end up getting the '08 from them they might apply it. Keep in mind that the dealer’s margin for new car sales is extremely slim and it gets eaten up in a hurry if they’re wasting a lot of money hauling cars back and forth across town and paying interest on cars sitting on the lot. That’s why they have deposits and really this is probably an instance in which they should keep at least some of your deposit.

Also, is this your nearest Toyota dealer? If so, I’d be VERY keen to stay friendly with them because chances are it’s where you’re going to want to have your warranty work done and having the dealer on your side when you’re dealing with the main office can be the difference between you paying for that $2000 transmission (or whatever) and Toyota USA paying for it.

I know you’ve gotten a bit of a hard time from a lot of the posters here, but really buying a new car in the first place isn’t exactly the best proposition financially. The whole reason why (some) people buy new cars is that they’re willing to pay more to reduce the amount they have to worry about their car and if you’re going to be fretting and trying to pinch pennies the whole way, you might as well just buy a nice used car.

Have you discussed this with them face-to-face? Could help.

Spend $500 on lawyer to get $500 back…

I was being super sarcastic, the whole thing sounds like a really big hassle.