Can a car dealer give me a different car than the one I am expecting?

UPDATED: Jan 9, 2012

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Can a car dealer give me a different car than the one I am expecting?

I just signed the sale contract for a new car. The dealership did not have the color I wanted. We negotiated for the same model and price of a car in stock. The dealer said that he found a car with the color I wanted at another dealership and would be delivering it 2 days. I will pick it up. There is no VIN number on the contract as well as no date of delivery. I deposited $3000. I am pre-approved for financing but cannot submit the information to the credit union without the VIN. Should I be worried?

Asked on January 9, 2012 under General Practice, California


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You should be a bit concrned in that custom and practice in the auto industry is that when one purchases a brand new car, the purchase contract is specific as to the year, make, color and most importantly vehicle identification number (VIN).

In the situation that you are writing about, there is not enough specificity for you to have a binding agreement to get the car you thought you were getting. There is no date of delivery as well. This is why your credit union requires a VIN for the loan that you want to obtain as part of getting the vehicle.

I would go back to the dealership and get an amendment to the contract with greater specifics as to the vehicle you thought you were purchasing so you can get your loan and possession of the car.

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