You bought a car and a couple days later the dealership comes by in the middle of the night and steals it back from you. Surprised? It happens all the time.
JT went to a car dealer and found a late model used vehicle he liked. His credit was okay – not stellar – but good enough to allow him to finance the car without getting a co-signer. The salesman and the others involved in the deal kept coming and going from the desk where he was sitting, bringing papers and talking about different lenders but assured JT they could get him financed. He had $1,000 for a down payment. As closing time at the dealer approached, they put some papers in front of him and said they had worked everything out. He signed and gave them the $1,000. He got in his new (but gently used) car and drove home.
A few days later, the salesman called him and told him there was a "problem" with the paperwork. Could JT come back to the dealership? JT went in and found his salesman who took him back to see the finance people. They told him that the bank which had approved his loan the other night had reneged. The good news is that they had found him a new bank and this one would move forward with a loan – even though JT already had the car – and only at a slightly higher interest rate. The papers were all filled out for JT's signature. They wanted to tear up the paperwork from the other day.
I have heard from many consumers who sat down and signed the new papers at this point. Instead, JT said words to the effect of, "Gentlemen, I believe you are attempting to be dishonest with me. Hence, I shall exit now." I wasn't there so we'll go with that.
The next morning he looked at his driveway and his car was gone. He called the police to report the stolen car. Shortly after, he was notified that the car wasn't stolen; it had been "repossessed" by the dealer. When he called them, his salesman said they were forced to do that when JT had refused to sign the new papers. All he had to do to get the car back was sign the new papers and pay the towing bill. The car was at the dealer. If he did not want to do that, they would simply keep his down payment for their troubles.
JT called an attorney and brought in all of his paperwork. Please keep in mind that this transaction took place in Michigan and this is an area of law that varies wildly from state to state. In JT's case, there was a Purchase Agreement which was signed by both parties. And then there was a finance contract. That contract was typical for Michigan in that it said that the buyer and seller agreed to a financial arrangement (down payment, monthly payments etc) and that the dealer was then authorized to assign the loan to a lender. But, it was the seller who was initially lending JT the purchase money.