NSW Car Dealer Making Me Pay Deposit?

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Alexk

Active Member
26 January 2017
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Hi everyone, please can you help me out. I'm freaking out a little.

Went car shopping with my girlfriend today (first time for the both of us). Went to a Volkswagen dealer took a test drive and decided on car we liked and started negotiating a deal to trade her old car in for a new golf.

We weren't happy with his first offer so the dealer is like you need to put a formal offer in so we can see if the manager can come to an agreement. Gives a piece of paper which states on the top.
Formal Offer/Credit Card Authorisation (it was a one page word document).

Asks me to fill out my credit card details and to put an offer in writing. So I did. (It's my first time buying a new car, I don't know what the process is).

They weren't happy with our 1st offer and ask me for a little more, so I changed the offer $500 more. We initial'd it and while he left to speak to his manager. My girlfriend and I decided that we would shop around as this was our first dealer we went to and will check out Mazda and another Volkswagen car yard.

Dealer comes back and his manager approved the 2nd price. We tell him will think about it as we were going to check out other cars (Mazda).

He's like both parties have agreed to the price so you have to either go with the deal or you will pay $1500 deposit if you don't. The paper I signed did say that if both parties agreed that a $1500 deposit will be taken and only refundable if finance wasn't approved. I was under the impression if we went ahead with the deal and signed contracts, not a formal approval that I had to pay $1500 for the deposit.

Mind you we never signed a contract,or anything saying contract.

Can they legally do that? Or is it a bulling tactic to make us buy?

Please help ASAP!
 

Rod

Lawyer
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27 May 2014
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Tough one. I can't think of anything in the ACL that might.

Sales person said put in a FORMAL offer, comes back with a form that says FORMAL offer -> This is not misleading or deceptive conduct.

You appear to have understood that you were signing a formal offer -> No lack of understanding about the nature of the document being signed.

Sales agent said put in a formal offer and we'll see if the manager agrees -> No misleading conduct

Did the Dealership finance the car or arrange a loan? If yes, you have a 1 day to change your mind and you are out of the deal but have to pay $250 or 2% of the car price, whichever is lessor. BTW notice needs to be in writing and signed. Keep your own copy and write on it who the notice was handed to!

If no finance, then maybe some of the more experienced people here can comment.

You're learning a lesson with cars and contracts, let's hope it is not an expensive one!
 

Alexk

Active Member
26 January 2017
7
0
31
Thanks for replying back Rod.

We never signed a up for finance yet. So do we have to accept the deal to decline it? Not going to buy from them as they left a bad taste in my mouth from this experience.

If I cancel my visa debit card can they chase me legally for the $1500?
 

Rod

Lawyer
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27 May 2014
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Hard to say. There are two possible areas of hope for you under contract law (rather than under the ACL):

1. Contract formation as you will argue you didn't intend to create a contract. However they will say poppycock, you signed the offer. If their assertion is correct, then yes, they may be chase you for the $1,500 but subject to point 2 below.

2. Offer is probably conditional and subject to signing a formal contract. Without signing the formal contract with all its terms and conditions you might have a way out. I'm not confident though without seeing the formal offer document.

Being a large dealership with access to lawyers I'd expect their form of offer to be well written and protecting their claim on a deposit.

See if someone jumps in here with a different slant on your situation.
 

Alexk

Active Member
26 January 2017
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I asked for a copy and in the outrage of it all they never ended up giving me it. Just the original quote with the very first price. That has my name on the top as the customer, but my girlfriend filled out the formal offer and signed it with the quote number to my name as to customer.

Can I somehow get out of it that way cause of the different names?
 

Rod

Lawyer
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You can get out of the payment, possibly leaving your GF as responsible.
 

Alexk

Active Member
26 January 2017
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31
Should I go in and ask for a copy of the form? And while I'm there should I give them a letter saying that I cancel the contract exercising my right within the cooling off period (but I don't want admit that it is a contract)?
 

Rod

Lawyer
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I can't tell you what to do.

They should have given you a copy of the form so if you don't have one you can request it. How you handle it partly depends on the response of the other party. Keep in mind if your GF signed the offer and not you, she should be involved and your only issue is use of your card.
 

Alexk

Active Member
26 January 2017
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31
Went and got a copy they said. I didn't have a cooling off period as I didn't sign a contract. If I was to block the payment, I could be liable for fraud. Really?

Do I need to speak to a lawyer. Please help ASAP

I put forward the following offer of $33500 on the vehicle listed as per quote number XXXXX (which has my details on the quote, and my GF details on the formal offer). I understand that if my offer is accepted by the (the dealer) that I authorise (the dealer) to debit $1500 from my credit card as attached above as a partial payment of the vehicle.

I understand that this deposit is non refundable unless I have been declined finance. I agree to provide all necessary documentation required to finalise my finance within 2 business day of my offer being accepted.