What are my rights in a sales contract with a dealership when an amount was given for a trade-in with misinformation was given?

Asked over 1 year ago - Pueblo, CO

I am trying to buy a car. On Saturday, we went to a dealership and worked out a deal that included a trade allowance for my 2005 Nissan Murano. At the time, I gave them incorrect information on the body style. I told them it was an SE and it is an SL. They gave me an amount for the trade-in without seeing the vehicle and we signed a sales contract. The car I am purchasing needed a minor repair and I was told it would be delivered to me on Tuesday. The repair took longer than expected and was not delivered Tuesday. On Tuesday night, while cleaning out my trade-in vehicle I noticed the mistake I made on the body style and tried to call the dealership Wednesday morning. I was unable to talk to anyone familiar with my sale so I tried again yesterday (Thursday). They are now acting like I committed fraud against them and want to see the vehicle, which is understandable. They should have looked at it before they made an offer in my opinion, but they didn't and put the offer on paper anyway. Also, on the contract it states only the year and make of my trade-in NOT the model or the body style. What are my rights as far as what is on paper if they try to change the trade-in amount? I agree that it should change a little, but with either body style it is still a 9 year old car with 145,000 miles on it and shouldn't be that big of a difference. As far as condition, I told them everything that I am aware of that is wrong with the vehicle and they made the first offer sight unseen.

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Andrew Endicott Schrafel

    Contributor Level 14


    Lawyers agree

    Best Answer
    chosen by asker

    Answered . "What are my rights as far as what is on paper if they try to change the trade-in amount?"

    You don't have to go through with the deal. It is a mutual mistake, the old contract can be renegotiated or canceled completely. Don't let them put you over a barrel about the trade in value. If the car dealer gets nasty with you and starts making threats that shows the weakness of their negotiating position.

    You should consult with an attorney in your area to confirm all this.

  2. Frank A. Natoli


    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . I do agree with my colleague. But this is really your mistake, however, let's be clear in that you told them something that was not true that presumably inured to your benefit. You know, you can't lie to them and then say "well, you guys should have looked."

    But as noted, you are not locked in if this changes the terms. You are also human and allowed to make a mistake. If they try to bully you into a less than favorable contract, you should simply pull out all together and look elsewhere. I am always very skeptical about how these dealerships operate and I know for a fact that they try any and every way to chisel you down in these situations because the margins are just so tight. Be awake and aware when you deal with them.

    Best regards,
    Natoli-Lapin, LLC
    (see Disclaimer)

    The law firm of Natoli-Lapin, LLC (Home of Lantern Legal Services) offers our flat-rate legal services in the... more

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