Can a Dealership Refuse to Sell You a Car? Your Rights as a Buyer

When it comes to buying a car, most people assume that if they have the money, the dealership has to sell them a car. However, this is not always the case. In certain situations, a dealership may refuse to sell you a car, leaving you wondering what your options are.

Can a Dealership Refuse to Sell You a Car?

There are a few reasons why a dealership may refuse to sell you a car. For example, if you have bad credit, the dealership may not want to take on the risk of financing your purchase. Additionally, if the dealership suspects that you may be involved in fraudulent activity, they may refuse to sell you a car.

Can a dealership refuse to sell you a car?

The short answer is yes. While it may seem unfair, dealerships have the right to refuse to sell a car to anyone for any reason, as long as it is not based on discrimination. However, if you feel that you have been unfairly denied the opportunity to purchase a car, there are steps you can take to address the situation.

Reasons why a dealership may refuse to sell you a car

While it is rare for a dealership to refuse to sell a car, there are a few reasons why they may do so. Here are some of the most common reasons:

  • Bad credit: If you have a poor credit score or a history of missed payments, the dealership may refuse to sell you a car. This is because they may see you as a high-risk borrower and may not be willing to take on the risk of lending you money.
  • Insufficient income: If you don’t have a stable source of income or if your income is too low, the dealership may refuse to sell you a car. This is because they want to ensure that you can afford to make the monthly payments on the car loan.
  • Unsatisfactory trade-in: If you are trading in a car, the dealership may refuse to accept it if it is in poor condition or has high mileage. This is because they may not be able to resell it or may have to put in a lot of money to fix it up.
  • Unreasonable demands: If you make unreasonable demands, such as asking for a car that is not in stock or asking for a price that is significantly lower than the market value, the dealership may refuse to sell you a car.

It’s important to note that while these are some of the most common reasons why a dealership may refuse to sell you a car, every dealership is different and may have their own policies and criteria for approving car loans. If you are unsure why a dealership has refused to sell you a car, it’s best to ask them directly and try to work out a solution.

bad credit: Can a Dealership Refuse to Sell You a Car?

Credit Ratings: Navigating Car Purchases with Credit in Mind

Bad credit can significantly impact a person’s ability to purchase a car and the interest rate they will have to pay on a loan. Lenders use credit scores as a measure of risk when determining whether to approve a loan and the terms of the loan, including the interest rate.

A lower credit score indicates a higher risk of default, so lenders are more cautious when dealing with individuals with bad credit. Here’s how bad credit can affect the car purchasing process and the interest rates:

  1. Difficulty getting approved: Individuals with bad credit may face challenges in getting approved for a car loan, as lenders are more hesitant to provide financing. They may need to consider alternative financing options, such as subprime auto loans or buy-here-pay-here dealerships, which typically charge higher interest rates.
  2. Higher interest rates: Lenders compensate for the higher risk associated with bad credit by charging higher interest rates. This means that borrowers with lower credit scores will end up paying more in interest over the life of the loan, making the overall cost of the car more expensive.
  3. Larger down payments: Borrowers with bad credit may be required to make larger down payments to secure financing for a vehicle. This can make it more difficult for them to purchase a car, especially if they don’t have the necessary funds readily available.
  4. Limited vehicle selection: Those with bad credit may find their vehicle options restricted, as lenders may not be willing to finance more expensive or luxury vehicles for high-risk borrowers.

Here’s a chart showing the various tiers of credit and their impact on interest rates:

Credit Score RangeCredit TierEstimated Interest Rate (APR)
750+Excellent3% – 5%
700 – 749Good5% – 7%
650 – 699Fair7% – 10%
600 – 649Poor12% – 17%
550 – 599Bad17% – 24%
300 – 549Very Bad24%+

Please note that the interest rates provided are estimates and can vary based on the lender, the borrower’s specific credit profile, and current market conditions. It’s essential to shop around and compare loan offers from multiple lenders to find the best rates and terms for your situation.

US Credit Rating Statistics

  • Average FICO credit score in the United States: 711 (as of 2020) [1]
  • Approximately 67% of U.S. adults have a good FICO score (670 or higher) [1]
  • About 16% of U.S. adults have a FICO score categorized as poor (579 or lower) [1]
  • Millennials (ages 24-39) have an average FICO score of 680, while Baby Boomers (ages 56-74) have an average FICO score of 736 [1]
  • FICO scores can range from 300 to 850, with higher scores indicating better creditworthiness [2]
  • About 1 in 5 U.S. adults have a credit score of 800 or higher, which is considered excellent [3]

Sources: [1] Experian, “2020 Consumer Credit Review,” [2] myFICO, “What is a FICO Score?” [3] Credit Karma, “How Many People Have a Perfect Credit Score?”

Income Level

Income: How Earnings Affect Your Car Buying Ability

Unless you are trying to pay cash for a car, your income and the source of that income play a big part in your ability to purchase a car. This is because your income and income history impacts your ability to get financing.

Insufficient income can create obstacles in the car-buying process, including:

  1. Loan approval: Lenders evaluate your income to assess your ability to repay a loan. If your income is insufficient to cover the monthly payments, lenders may deny your loan application or offer less favorable terms.
  2. Debt-to-income ratio: Lenders look at your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, which is the percentage of your monthly income that goes toward debt payments. A high DTI ratio may signal to lenders that you are overextended and may struggle to make your car loan payments. Ideally, your DTI ratio should be below 43% to qualify for most loans.
  3. Down payment: A lower income may make it difficult for you to save for a sizable down payment, which can affect your loan terms and interest rates. A larger down payment often results in lower interest rates and a shorter loan term, reducing the total cost of the vehicle.
  4. Vehicle selection: Insufficient income may limit your vehicle options, as you may only qualify for financing on lower-priced or used cars rather than new or luxury models.

To better understand the relationship between income and car affordability, consider the following table:

Monthly IncomeRecommended Car Payment (15% of Income)Approximate Loan Amount (60-month term, 5% APR)

This table assumes that 15% of your monthly income should be allocated toward your car payment, which is a general guideline for budgeting. The loan amount is calculated based on a 60-month term and a 5% annual percentage rate (APR). Keep in mind that these figures are approximate and will vary based on factors such as your credit score, down payment, and loan terms.

Your income plays a critical role in determining your ability to purchase a car and secure favorable financing terms. To improve your chances of getting approved for a car loan and afford the vehicle you desire, consider increasing your income, reducing your debt, or saving for a larger down payment.

US Income Level Statistics

  • Median household income in the United States: $68,700 (as of 2019) [1]
  • Top 20% of households have an income of $130,000 or more, while the bottom 20% have an income of $25,500 or less [1]
  • The richest 5% of U.S. households have an income of at least $248,729, while the poorest 5% have an income of no more than $13,775 [2]
  • The median income for millennials (ages 25-39) is $47,034, while the median income for baby boomers (ages 56-74) is $57,888 [3]
  • Median income varies by race and ethnicity: Whites ($76,057), Asians ($98,174), Hispanics ($56,113), and African Americans ($45,438) [1]
  • Approximately 9.2% of the U.S. population lived in poverty in 2020, with a poverty threshold of $26,246 for a family of four [4]

Sources: [1] U.S. Census Bureau, “Income and Poverty in the United States: 2019,” [2] U.S. Census Bureau, “Household Income: 2019,” [3] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers: Fourth Quarter 2019,” [4] U.S. Census Bureau, “Poverty: 2020 Highlights,”

Legal Considerations

When it comes to purchasing a car from a dealership, there are legal considerations that must be taken into account. While dealerships have the right to refuse to sell a car to a customer, there are certain situations where this refusal may be illegal.

One example of an illegal refusal to sell is if the dealership is discriminating against the customer based on their race, gender, religion, or another protected class. This is a violation of federal law and can result in serious legal consequences for the dealership.

Another situation where a dealership may face legal consequences for refusing to sell a car is if the customer has already signed a sales contract and the dealership attempts to back out of the deal. In this case, the customer may be able to take legal action to enforce the contract and force the dealership to sell the car.

It’s important to note that each state has its own specific laws regarding car sales, so it’s important to research the laws in your state if you believe that a dealership has illegally refused to sell you a car.

Overall, while dealerships have the right to refuse to sell a car to a customer, they must do so within the boundaries of the law. If you believe that a dealership has illegally refused to sell you a car, it’s important to seek legal advice to understand your rights and options.

What to Do if a Dealership Refuses to Sell You a Car

It can be frustrating to experience a dealership refusing to sell you a car. However, there are several steps you can take to resolve the issue:

  • Ask why: Before taking any further action, ask the dealership why they are refusing to sell you a car. It could be a simple misunderstanding or a mistake that can be easily resolved.
  • Check for discrimination: If the dealership’s reason for refusing to sell you a car seems unjustified or discriminatory, you may have legal recourse. Contact an attorney or civil rights organization for assistance.
  • Consider alternative dealerships: If the dealership is unwilling to sell you a car, it may be best to look for alternative dealerships that are willing to work with you. You may also want to consider buying a car from a private seller.
  • Leave a review: If you feel that the dealership’s refusal to sell you a car was unjustified or unfair, consider leaving a review on their website or social media pages. This can help other potential customers avoid similar experiences.

Remember to remain calm and professional throughout the process. Getting angry or confrontational will not help resolve the issue and may even make matters worse. By taking the appropriate steps, you can increase your chances of finding a dealership that is willing to work with you and sell you the car you want.