Used Truck Buyer Deals with Car Financing Confusion

WSVN — He was told he had financing for the truck and he drove home, but a few days later, the used car dealer called and said, "Bring back our truck. Your financing was not approved, and we are not returning your deposit." Is that legal for a used car dealer to do? Let’s get the answer from Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

After driving an SUV for awhile, Devin Lupina decided he wanted to trade it in for a pickup truck.

Devin Lupina: "It’s easy to throw things in the back, especially when I go off-roading or do anything outdoors, or anything with work."

After looking around, Devin found one he liked at a used car lot in Hollywood.

Devin Lupina: "I traded in my truck for $1,000, and I did $1,250 for a down payment."

The salesman wrote down that Devin gave a $1,250 cash deposit, and then said, "Let’s see if we can get financing for the rest."

Devin Lupina: "And they said I got approved, and that’s when they let me drive off the lot with it after I signed all the paperwork."

Like many people who buy a vehicle, Devin thought the financing was approved when he drove off with his pickup truck.

But the paperwork said, "Although I have been authorized to take delivery of the above described vehicle, I understand that financing for purchase of the vehicle has not been finalized." This is known as a spot delivery. And then…

Devin Lupina: "I received a phone call saying I wasn’t approved for the loan, so they wanted me to bring the truck back."

Devin said OK but…

Devin Lupina: "And when I asked about my truck, that I traded in, they said that they sold it right away. And they also said they would not refund me my money."

They were not going to give him his truck back, and were not returning his $1,250 deposit, either. So Devin’s mother made a call to try to straighten things out.

Nancy Allen: "’Listen, why don’t you guys just give him his money back and he will bring back the vehicle.’ ‘Oh we don’t give refunds,’ blah, blah, blah, and I said, ‘OK we have a problem.’"

Devin says it makes no sense to him.

Devin Lupina: "If you tell someone you are approved for a loan and then you are not, I don’t understand how that works."

Well, Howard, Devin wasn’t approved for financing. Can they make him return their pickup and not return Devin’s old SUV and his cash deposit?

Howard Finkelstein: "Legally, Devin is required to return the vehicle, and legally, the car dealer has to return his down payment and either the trade-in or the fair market value of it. Also, the dealership can charge him for using their truck and they can deduct that from the down payment that they return."

We spoke to the used car dealer. He says, even though the paperwork says Devin put down $1,250, he only gave them $200 and promised to pay the rest later.

The dealer didn’t offer to return any money, but told us he would get Devin’s SUV back and give it to him when he returned their truck.

Devin says he did give them $1,250 like the paperwork says, and Nancy says they won’t return the vehicle ’till they get everything back. The dealer’s response?

Nancy Allen: "They are threatening to repossess it."

Devin still has the dealer’s truck and plans to sue them.

Howard Finkelstein: "If you are convinced, you are right. Go to court and sue, but be aware, if they are able to repossess it, you will have to pay for that repossession. And while it’s unlikely, you could be charged with theft for keeping their truck after they asked you to return it. So it’s better to return the vehicle and let a judge decide how much money you get back."

Devin is not going to return the truck. And while he is waiting for his day in court to fight the used car dealer, he is going on the offensive.

Nancy Allen: "So we have filed complaints with all the government agencies within the State of Florida to try to resolve this issue."

Patrick Fraser: "Nancy and Devin are determined. We will keep an eye on it and let you know how this one turns out. Bottom line, if your financing is not finalized, don’t take their vehicle. Drive home in your old car and wait until you are definitely approved before you accept the vehicle. A little patience can help avoid a big mess."

Signed up for a problem you now don’t approve of? Need someone to take interest in it? Loan it to us. No need to worry about financing. We will try to deliver a solution and it’s free. With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.

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