Spot Delivery and Car Financing Consumer Attorney

Can a Car Dealer Keep A Down Payment if the Customer Can’t Get Financing?  

In Maryland, the answer is clearly  NO – and it is is the law. The dealership must immediately return all of the customer’s money back if financing is not approved and the customer returns the car and another deal is not agreed on. If the dealership keeps your downpayment after financing is not approved, Whitney, LLP’s auto fraud and spot delivery lawyers can help you get it back.

Whitney, LLP’s consumer car fraud lawyers successfully represent consumers against new and used car dealerships across Maryland.  By suing the car dealership, we are often able to unwind bad deals and recover compensation for car buyers who were cheated by misrepresentations and fraud. 

Here are some results in past car dealership fraud and spot delivery cases we have helped car buyers with. We offer Legal Consultations. Call us now at 410 583 8000 or use our online Quick Contact Form for your Legal Consultation and to discuss your potential case.

The Car Dealer Has To Return the Trade when Financing is Not Approved

In Maryland, the car dealership must return the customer’s trade in vehicle immediately if financing is not approved.  However, dealerships sometimes sell the customer’s trade-in before financing is approved and force the customer to buy a new car. Selling the trade before financing is approved is an illegal practice that Whitney, LLP’s lawyers help car buyers with.

In October 2015, a law was passed in Maryland that deals directly with the situation commonly called a “Spot Delivery.” A Spot Delivery simply means that the customer gets to take the car home, or take delivery of the vehicle,  “on the spot” although financing has not yet been approved.  The actual statute, or law, is available here.  

The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration issued a bulletin regarding the Spot Delivery law in an easy to read format that summarizes the law. It is available here. 

dealership stealing gap warranty money 300x200 - Spot Delivery and Car Financing Consumer Attorney

Yo Yo Sale and Spot Delivery in Maryland

The situation when a dealership lets the customer take the car home, but then for some reason the dealership tries to force the buyer to bring the car back is also called a “Yo Yo” Sale – the name comes from the back and forth that the buyer is subjected to by the dealership.  Spot Delivery, or Yo Yo Sales, have a high potential for consumer abuse by a predatory car dealership.

You might wonder why a car dealership would allow a customer to leave a dealership when the sales contract and financing have not yet been completed. The dealership knows that once a buyer takes delivery of a vehicle they will become emotionally attached to it, and may be susceptible to high pressure tactics designed to make the customer willing to pay more money to the dealership to keep the car now that they have the keys, have been driving it for a few days, and have shown it to friends and family.

 Fortunately, Maryland law directly addresses what a dealership is allowed to do, and what consumer’s rights are, when car financing is not approved and the customer needs to return the car to the dealership. Maryland law also makes the violation of Maryland’s Spot Delivery Law a violation of Maryland’s Consumer Protection Act, which allows a consumer who has been victimized by a dishonest car dealership to recover their attorney’s fees from the dealership.

Whitney, LLP’s attorneys help car buyers unwind yo-yo sales and recover compensation. 

Spot Delivery Legal Rights When Car Financing is Not Approved

When car financing has not been finalized but the seller lets the buyer leave the dealership with the car, the seller has to follow strict legal requirements.  The Spot Delivery law in Maryland requires a car seller to provide the customer with a written notice with the exact language required by law. That language includes the following requirements addressing what happens when financing is not approved but the customer was given the car to take home:

  1. The notice must state that financing has not been finalized;
  2. If the financing is approved, the sale cannot be canceled;
  3. The seller has 4 days to give the buyer notice if financing is not approved, and either the seller or buyer can then cancel the sale;
  4. The seller has 2 days to return the vehicle, with ordinary wear and tear,  to the seller once they receive the written notice that financing was not approved;
  5. If financing is not approved, the seller and buyer can choose to, but are not required to, negotiate different terms.
  6. The seller must immediately return all fees paid, including but not limited to down payments, title fees, taxes, and dealer processing fee, if the sale is canceled; and
  7. The seller must also immediately return the buyer’s trade-in vehicle in the same condition.

A violation of Maryland’s Spot Delivery law allows the seller to recover their actual damages, or costs, as well as their attorney’s fees.  Actual damages can include any expenses that the consumer incurs when a dealership does not comply with the law. Actual damages may include if the dealer wrongfully keeps the down payment, or any other money that should be returned, rental car payments if the customer has to get a rental due to the dealership’s late notice, or any other economic loss. Emotional distress may also be able to be recovered for if the dealership did something that caused the customer to feel distress.  

Because a consumer car fraud lawyer can recover their attorney’s fees from the dealership, the consumer car fraud deception attorneys at Whitney, LLP are able to represent consumers knowing that Maryland law can force the dealership to pay attorney’s fees.  This is a benefit to customers who have been deceived by a dishonest car dealership and who may be concerned that they cannot afford to hire an attorney.

scheme for sellingcars 300x188 - Spot Delivery and Car Financing Consumer Attorney

Examples of Illegal Spot Deliveries Car Fraud Scams in Maryland

There are hundreds of new and used car dealerships in Maryland, and all of them are required to follow the law when financing is not approved.  However, some dealerships commit illegal actions in an effort to gouge customers and get more money from the customer than the customer agreed to pay.  

Sales Manager Will Only Return Part of My Down Payment

We have represented clients in cases where the dealership calls weeks after a customer buys a car and tells them to bring the car back. When the customer brings it back, they are told that the dealership is keeping half, or some, of the down payment, for a new Maryland inspection, for a reinspection, due to wear and tear, or any other fraudulent reason. These are scams to keep the customers money. As long as the customer returns the car within two days, and it has normal wear and tear, the dealership cannot keep the down payment and has to return it.

Car Dealership Requiring Illegal Down Payment for Spot Delivery

The car fraud and spot delivery consumer lawyers at Whitney, LLP have seen many different situations where a dealership violates Maryland law involving Spot Delivery and Yo Yo Sales.  We have seen situations where a sales manager or car salesman call a customer after the customer has taken the car home and tells them that they need to pay an additional down payment, such as another $1,000 or $2,000, in order for them to keep the car, and if they do not pay the extra money the customer will have to bring the car back and will forfeit the downpayment they have already put down.  Lies such as these are an attempt to take advantage of a customer who is not aware of their rights under Maryland’s Spot Delivery Law.

Dealerships Selling Trade In Before Financing Is Approved

As crazy as it sounds, the consumer car fraud and spot delivery lawyers atWhitney, LLP have also seen situations where the dealership sells the customer’s trade in vehicle before financing is approved, leaving the customer without any car once they return the car from a dealership.  

In one of the most egregious cases, a new car dealership sold a contractor’s trade-in vehicle, which was a pick up truck that was filled with the contractor’s tools, before financing was approved on the new pickup truck the customer was allowed to take home.  In this case, the customer’s actual damages include the loss of his tools and his expenses to arrange for transportation due to his trade in vehicle being sold.  

Other cases the Spot Delivery Consumer Fraud lawyers at Whitney, LLP have seen involve a dealership letting the customer take home a new vehicle before financing is complete, and once financing falls through, keeping the customer’s down payment by telling the customer it was converted into a rental fee for the few days that the customer drove the new car before they had to bring it back.  Keeping a down payment and saying it was converted into rental car fees is an illegal practice that the dealership is not allowed to engage in. 

whitney 1 300x178 - Spot Delivery and Car Financing Consumer Attorney

Daniel W. Whitney, Sr. and Daniel W. Whitney, Jr.

Auto Fraud Consumer Lawyer for Spot Delivery and Yo Yo Sales

The consumer car fraud and spot delivery lawyers at Whitney, LLP represent victims of car fraud, illegal trade in sales, forged car sales contracts, and spot delivery scams.  We have successfully represented many consumers in Maryland in claims and lawsuits against new and used car dealerships involving a wide variety of schemes and scams. If you or a friend or family member has been the victim of a predatory new or used car dealership, contact us now at 410 583 8000 for a legal consultation, or use our Quick Contact Form.

We handle cases against new and used car dealerships across Maryland and in other states on a select basis. Maryland counties we accept car fraud cases in include  Allegany County, Carroll County, Harford County, St. Mary’s County, Anne Arundel County, Cecil County, Howard County, Somerset County, Baltimore City, Charles County, Kent County, Talbot County, Baltimore County, Dorchester County, Montgomery County, Washington County, Calvert County, Frederick County, Prince George’s County, Wicomico County, Caroline County, Garrett County, Queen Anne’s County and Worcester County.


“When others did not want to take my case Whitney, LLP was willing. Dan was very very patient with me and his communication was always on point no matter how he reached out. He helped me and my family start our lives all over, I thank him so much.”

– Client

Read More Testimonials

“I would definitely recommend this firm. I contacted them just to get some insight and I was informed that I indeed had a case, and they won! Any questions or concerns I had were answered and explained clearly. They were very kind and informative throughout the whole process. I am very grateful that I stumbled across their page, it has changed my life. Thank you.”

– Client

Read More Testimonials


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


409 Washington Ave,
Suite 750
Towson, MD 21204
P: (410) 583-8000
F: (800) 893-1239


An attorney-client relationship is created only once a representation agreement is signed. Prior results are not a guarantee of future results, and all cases are different. This website does not provide legal advice.


Whitney, LLP fights for the injured and deceived. We offer legal consultations.


© Whitney, LLP | Sitemap | Privacy Policy
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Call Now Button