Battery Light on a trade-in - Question of ethics


Old 08-13-07, 12:23 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2006
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Battery Light on a trade-in - Question of ethics

I consider myself an honest guy. I made a deal on a new car on Saturday and got a great deal on my trade-in. As my luck would have it, Sunday morning, the battery charging light went on in my trade-in. I drove like that for the rest of the day and then the battery completely died. I've since charged it back up and it is running again but the battery is draining. I'm assuming I have a problem with the alternator, though I'm a complete novice when it comes to auto repairs.

Is it unethical for me to turn this truck in tomorrow night without mentioning this? I'm afraid of how much this is going to cost to fix. I'd hate to pay to fix it when I'm trading it in right away. If there was a significant repair necessary at the time I trade it in, am I responsible for the cost to fix it or is the dealer?

I'm not a sneaky person and will probably mention this, but everyone is telling me I'm crazy if I bring it up. What do people think here?

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Old 08-13-07, 03:01 PM
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Location: Hamilton County, Ohio
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While the dealer based the trade in price on what he saw at a given point in time, they do have a "cushion" built in. If it were me, I would tell the dealer that " my battery may have died" when I picked up my new vehicle. The dealer is not going to tear up the paperwork, and your conscience will be clear.
Old 08-13-07, 03:03 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Owen Sound Ontario Canada
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I too would not be able to turn the other way and not tell them.
I dont think it should hurt the deal any.
The dealer will have quite a margin built into the resale value of your trade in protecting themselves against buying a car that needs repairs
Old 08-13-07, 03:03 PM
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Location: Northeast Kansas
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If you want to be 100% ethical, I'd mention the fact when you go to trade the car in. But I wouldn't offer or expect to have the value of the repair deducted from the trade-in value. First of all, they are making hundreds of dollars profit from your new car sale. Secondly, they expect to have to spend some money reconditioning any used car before they put it out on the lot, so they take that into consideration when they give you their trade-in offer. Third, it costs them a whole lot less to repair it than if you were paying the bill.
Old 08-13-07, 06:30 PM
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Location: WI/MN
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At the end of the day, you're the one who will have to live with the choice. Based on the fact that you asked, I think you'll be a happier person if you dislcose this. I agree that the odds are you won't lose any money anyway.
Old 08-27-07, 11:24 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 43

I told them straight out about the battery light. They were actually pretty cool about it and I feel a whole lot better for telling them.

Thanks for the thoughts.
Old 08-27-07, 12:32 PM
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They were pretty cool about it because even after they replace the alternator (at cost) they are going to turn a nice profit on reselling it. Glad it turned out okay.

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