Man stunned when GM dealer says pay for Yukon weeks before possession or lose it

Posted at 8:26 PM, Feb 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-25 20:26:33-05

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) — A Livingston County family was eagerly anticipating a brand new GMC Yukon when they got an unexpected phone call from the dealership.

"Ordered a new vehicle. The vehicle hasn't arrived yet and the dealership wants me to either pay cash or get a loan on the vehicle without taking possession of it," the man wrote on Facebook, adding that the dealership was "threatening to sell the vehicle to someone else" if he didn't.

The man said he had already been waiting months after placing a $500 deposit with the dealership, Todd Wenzel Buick GMC of Davison.

The man said he tried to show proof of funds, but that didn't matter. He said he was given until Feb. 28 to complete the purchase on paper, which would also include insurance on the vehicle and possibly making payments, he wrote.

On Facebook, the man indicated the vehicle's identification number was available, which means the Yukon has been built. He also posted the application for the title and registration form that had been filled out by the dealer and signed by their finance manager with a typed "delivery date" of 02/21/2022.

7 Action News reached out to the dealership and spoke to Josh Gordon who, on their website, is listed as the general manager.

Gordon said it's about keeping the lights on, paying his employees and managing low supply with high demand.

Gordon wanted to make it clear that the customer has still not completed the purchase of the Yukon, which is expected to arrive on March 10.

When 7 Action News asked why the $500 deposit was not enough to hold the vehicle for the man until it actually arrives and he can see it before completing the purchase, Gordon said the deposit does not mean that the vehicle is guaranteed to a particular person.

Gordon said his dealership gets a new vehicle from GM when they sell one. He said it's called "turn and earn." So even if a vehicle hasn't been delivered to a customer, it's delivered on paper.

But what if someone purchases and insures a vehicle before taking possession and that vehicle falls off a truck or is somehow damaged or destroyed?

Gordon said the dealer would fix the damage because it's their responsibility to deliver a vehicle in new condition or they would "unwind the transaction."

And while some people on social media found the process surprising and others even questioned the legality of it, Gordon said the process is legal and allowed by GM.

A manager at another GM dealership, who wanted to remain anonymous, said a vehicle purchase is not consummated unless the customer can actually drive it off the lot or take physical possession of it.

Gordon said after several conversations with the customer who wants to purchase the Yukon, he told him that he would make an exception for him so that he would not have to pay in advance.

If a person has a complaint about any business operating in the state, a spokesperson for Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said they can file an online complaint with their office.