If a car dealer made a math error in my favor, do I have to make it up?

UPDATED: Jul 27, 2011

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If a car dealer made a math error in my favor, do I have to make it up?

Bought a new vehicle 2days ago. The next day after buying I receive a call from the dealership that they made a mathematical error. They gave us too good of a deal regarding the amount of rebates ($1500). They want to restructure the contract and make me pay more. Since I already signed a binding contract, do I have to do what they say?

Asked on July 27, 2011 Wisconsin


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If the error *is* a simple mathematical error that can be seen from the contract, then you'd have to make the change. For example: say the contract says you pay $20k less the value of your trade in, and the trade in was valued at $4k. If they then came to a final price of $14k instead of $16k, you'd have to make up the $2k; it's nothing but a math error, and all the inputs or information that would result in the correct price can be seen in the contract, so you can be presumed to have agreed to them.

On the other hand, say they thought more about and decided they offered you too many rebates--that's their problem, not yours. So if the problem is how they valued your business, rebates, etc., that is not something they can correct. If they literally added things up wrong or the equivalent and all the line items were disclosed to you, then you'd have to adjust matters to correct the math error.

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