A Clunker of A Cash For Clunker Story

August 28, 2009
By: Robert Silverman

Thanks to the Cash for Clunkers program, more than 700,000 gas guzzlers are now off the road, replaced by more fuel-efficient vehicles.  It is a tremendous accomplishment and no doubt consumers and car dealers alike really profited off the program.

While the program officially came to a close Monday night, there are still car buyers out there waiting to hear if their rebate will go through.  Some have been told they will find out in a couple of weeks. As we discussed previously in the lemon law blog, there was quite a bit of fine print associated with this promotion and it is the dealer’s responsibility to ensure that the consumer qualifies for the rebate.  After all, if the dealer doesn’t do their job verifying everything prior to the transaction, they are the ones left stranded if the rebate never comes, right?

The answer seems to be affirmative, but one dealer in Philadelphia decided to test that theory.  After they completed the sale and trashed the trade, the dealer found out that the insurance on this car had lapsed for two weeks during the last year of ownership.  That means they would not receive their rebate and that left them raving mad. They went back to the buyer, a second-year medical student, to try and recoup their $3,500.  And when we say try and recoup, we mean demand and threaten.

So, who won and who was right?  For the answer, take at look at KYW TV Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan’s piece (featuring Kimmel & Silverman’s Founding Partner Craig Thor Kimmel) by clicking here (article no longer available, link removed).

If you find yourself in a position where you have already turned in your clunker and the dealer is demanding more cash, please contact us.

Editors Note: the Cash for Clunkers program has ended and it’s associated website was shut down in September of 2011.

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