(WSVN) - He went to buy a used car. He was told the financing was approved, he put down a deposit and drove away. Two weeks later, they repossessed the car and refused to return his deposit. Legally, can they do that? It’s why a South Florida man called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

When Domenic started a new job, he was happy. Plenty of work to do, plenty of hours to put in.

Domenic McIntyre: “It paid out well. They started me off at $14, right? And then I was making tips, and because I was willing to do the hours no one else wanted to do.”

And with that job, he decided to reward himself with a nice car.

Domenic McIntyre: “It was a 2015 Lexus IS250. Pretty car, matte black.”

Domenic found the vehicle he wanted at a used car dealership, where he applied for financing.

Patrick Fraser: “Did they tell you you were approved?”

Domenic McIntyre: “They told me I was approved. They said that they crunched the numbers, and they ran me through a bunch of different banks, and that I was approved.”

Domenic signed the paperwork, put down a $3,000 deposit and drove off.

Two weeks later he got a call from the dealer.

Domenic McIntyre: “They said that the paperwork did not go through. I did not get approved. They needed me to bring the car in.”

Patrick Fraser: “What did you think?”

Domenic McIntyre: “They wanted more money.”

Domenic told them he was working 16 hours a day and couldn’t be back at the dealership till Friday evening.

But they were not patient, and Friday morning, they relieved him of that car, as they repossessed it.

Domenic McIntyre: “The camera shows them taking the car around 10 in the morning. They showed up with a black, unmarked tow truck.”

Domenic went down to the dealer to give them the key and get his belongings, and he had a request.

Domenic McIntyre: “‘I want $3,000 back.’ I gave them $3,000 for a car. They gave me the car, and then they took the car back before I was allowed to make a payment.”

The reply?

Domenic McIntyre: “And he told me no. He said he ‘has the car and the money.’ His exact words.”

Not fair, Domenic says.

Domenic McIntyre: “Whatever deal that they were supposed to make, they should have made it, and if they didn’t, it’s not my fault.”

Well, Howard, Domenic thought the financing was approved, and when it wasn’t, he lost his car and his deposit. Is he out of luck?

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “No, he is not out of luck. The law calls this a spot delivery, meaning you get the car, but the dealer has to get a lender to finance the vehicle. If they cannot, either Domenic pays cash, returns the car or they repossess it. But he does get his deposit back minus the dealer’s expenses, like the use of the car and the repo of the car.”

As I looked at the contract, Domenic was lucky.

The car sold for $22,795. If he had been approved for the loan, it required a $745 payment for 72 months, meaning he would have paid $53,640 for the vehicle.

The dealer was a character. He told me he kept the $3,000 deposit because it covered his expenses.

I asked him to list the expenses.

He replied, “What do you want? I said, give Domenic $2,000. He said, “Tell him to come down here, and I will.”

Howard Finkelstein: “To avoid this, go to your bank and ask if they will finance a vehicle and for how much. This will let you know what price car you can afford and help you avoid the high interest rates a used car dealer sometimes charges.”

Domenic McIntyre: “I appreciate it very much.”

The dealer kept his word and gave Domenic his $2,000 back, making it possible for Domenic to go buy another car.

Domenic McIntyre: “I am very glad I called Help me Howard. If I hadn’t called you, I could have gotten nothing.”

Glad we could help, Domenic, and we had to interview him on Zoom because he says he got COVID playing basketball. One step forward, one step back.

By the way, his contract did say the deal was contingent on the dealer getting financing. If you buy a used car, find that language in the contract so you know what you’re getting into.

Someone deposited a problem with you? Wanna repossess your peace of mind? We like being used — to help — ’cause we have the keys to a solution.

Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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