What is in question is $500 in cash. Money Willie Carwell says he's owed from Bossier Country dealership out of Fairfield. "I had $500 to pay down and [the salesperson] told me come on down," says Carwell. He says he and his mother, Roberta, were offered a Dodge truck to suit their budget and told the dealer, runners and a trailer hitch would need to be added if they decided to buy it. "My mother says she didn't want a Dodge, she wants a Chevrolet. If she can't get a Chevrolet then there ain't no deal," says Carwell. But the dealership did the add-on's anyway, saying Willie authorized it. They're refusing to refund the full deposit because of that. "The $500 deposit was given to arrange all this. They changed their mind which relinquished the deposit," says Bossier Country Sales Floor Manager Chad Ivie. So who is right? The Better Business Bureau held an arbitration hearing, where both the car dealer and the Carwells agreed to abide by the decision, no matter the outcome. The hearing fell in the customer's favor, saying the dealership is to refund the $500 in full. Bossier Country is agreeing, only after they take out labor costs for the add-on's on a truck the Carwell's never bought. "I'll refund the full $500 if he'll pay the service fee of $94," says Ivie. Carwell adds, "They swore under oath [at the arbitration hearing] that they would uphold the arbitration. They went back on their word, they were under oath." Bossier Country's Better Business Bureau membership has since been suspended for failing to keep their word. Carwell has since hired a lawyer, where the next person to hear this case could be a civil judge.
The Federal Trade Commission has the following advice if you're in the market to buy a car: Take your time reading and understanding the entire agreement and don't sign unless you're satisfied. Be sure that all of the salesperson's verbal promises are included in a contract. If you're required to make a deposit, ask whether it's refundable and make sure the answer is in writing.