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Should I Leave a Car Dealer Deposit?

There will be times when you want to buy a car that the car dealer may ask you for a deposit. These times are usually when you want to hold a new or used car or have the dealer locate a new car for you. A car dealer deposit means that you and the dealership have a mutual agreement of some kind. It means that both parties will do what they say they are going to do unless there are some disclaimers, which should be discussed before the deposit is handed over.

Car Dealer Deposit on Car

As the car shopper leaving the deposit you promise to buy a specific car that the dealer is holding for you or the car that the dealer is locating for you. The dealer that is accepting your deposit is promising to hold the car or locate/order the car in question. Therefore all the details of the transaction should be spelled out in black and white and if the dealer does not perform you will get your deposit refunded, but what happens if a dealer locates or holds a car for you and you change your mind.

So what happens when you back out on your promise to purchase a vehicle that you left a deposit on with the car dealer? In most cases nothing, but dealers will try to make you believe that they have the right to keep your deposit, but they don’t. However, if there are special conditions that are noted on the paperwork when you left your deposit they will dictate the outcome. If you were willing to put a non-refundable deposit on a car then there isn’t any question. Many people ask about getting a deposit left with a car dealer, but as you can see it depends on the conditions to which both parties agreed.

Tips for Leaving a Car Dealer Deposit

Reason for Deposit: When you leave a deposit with the car dealer what is the reason for the deposit? Is the car dealer going to hold, order, locate or try to find you a car? Whatever they are promising to do should be clear.

Time Frame: How long will they hold a car or how long will it take them to find you a car or locate the car. The time frame for them to deliver on their promise should be spelled out on your receipt.

Conditions for Refund: What happens if either party fails to hold to the agreement requiring the deposit. Can you get a refund?Deposit for Car Dealer

Details: If you are going to leave a deposit with a car dealer you should require a buyers order listing all of the details of the transaction. Whether they are holding or locating a car for you a car buyers order should contain all the information about the vehicle including make, model, trim level and color, the selling price, time frame to complete transaction and conditions for refund. Then both parties should sign the buyers order.

Do Not Leave a Cash Deposit: When comes to handing over the payment to the car dealer the last thing you want to do is give the dealer cash. I don’t even recommend a check, but a check is better than cash because it will give you a paper trail in case or problems with the agreement. The best way to give the car dealership a deposit is to use a credit card (not debit card). If there is a problem most card companies will side with the cardholder and charge back the dealer to get your deposit refunded. Cash is too hard to track and prove so use your credit card and you wont have to worry about getting back a deposit if the deal goes bad.

Get a Receipt: I probably didn’t need to tell you that, but in addition to getting a copy of the buyers order you should also get a copy of the receipt from the credit card machine. This receipt will contain a date and a transaction number that makes getting a refund much easier if the need arises.

Follow these simple tips for a car dealer deposit and you won’t have to worry about a thing. Not all car dealers are out to get you, but you wont have to worry if you cover all the bases. Buying a car does not have to be stressful or nerve-racking, it can actually be smooth and enjoyable if you follow the car buying guide.


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