Has the Toyota Dealer Ripped Me Off?

Toyota Camry.jpg


Hi John,

Many thanks for answering my call on Radio 2UE yesterday. I hope you be able to help me in any form so other people that go to this dealer in future will not be ripped off. I will try my best to explain it to you.

On Monday 6/1/14 I went to this dealer to get trade in/valuate my 2004 X-Trail for the new Camry Altise $26,990 drive-away, which was advertised on the TV and in the newspaper. Signed new vehicle contract and put $1000 deposit down, with $8000 trade in. On Tuesday 7/1/14, me and my wife paid in full remaining balance to the dealer and was told we will receive our new camry on Friday 10/1/14.

I rang the dealer on Thursday 9/1/14 to confirm and was told our new car was already in the yard and would be ready on Friday 10/1/14 and was given the rego and VIN.

Friday 10/1/14 I arrive at dealer, and I notice the rego plate is white colour background. After I signed the contract etc., just under a minute later the dealer pulled out this PPSR paper saying my X-Trail was a repairable write off back in 2008. I was upset because I did not know at all and ask why they tell me now. I was told to pay another $4000 and if I pull out from the deal I will loose $2400 to the dealer.

In the end I paid an extra $1000. Then I asked where when my registration paper and was told will be mail to my address. Unhappy, next day I rang Toyota head office and was told my new Camry was a demo car and registration already started 30/12/13 and warranty started 24/1/14.

But I only received the car on the 10/1/14. I called again toyota head office and also dealer and was told there's nothing I could do. How terrible feeling my wife and myself to have been done by the dealer and also Toyota head office customer service.

The next day I went to a solicitor for a pree 10mins appointment and she pointed out that my first contract heading was New Vehicle Contract and my last contract heading was Demonstator Contract. She also pointed out that my X-Trail VIN in both contract are not correct. If I take it further with the solicitor it will cost me at least $5000.

Hope to hear from you with any advice.

Thanks in advance,




Your story reads like a 'how not to buy a car' epic. Let me skim over the details and cut to the chase.

If your old X-Trail was in fact a repaired write-off, its value is basically just scrap. It can't be insured. So, you've rid yourself of this dud X-Trail, which is worth basically nothing, and it's cost you $26,990, plus $1000, minus your $8k trade-in. Let's call that $20k.

Now let's talk about your Camry - the rego started on 30 December if it's a demonstrator as you claim. You picked it up 11 days later. So, it's a brand new car, minus 11 days and a few test-driving kilometres. (I think you have the start date on the warranty incorrect, above. I assume you mean 24 Dec 13.) So, in terms of the warranty, you have the full three-year warranty minus about two weeks. Big deal.

I think overall that this is actually a good deal for you, because there's no way on earth you'd get $8k for that X-Trail if in fact it's a repaired write-off.

What outcome do you hope to achieve if you take legal action? "At least $5k" means it'll probably cost you $7k for the legal fees. You haven't incurred damages of anything like that. If you think the dealership is going to give you a $5k adjustment, you'll still be $2k out of pocket, or something. I think the dealer may not have handled you diplomatically, but you're already sounding like you're in front mate. That repaired write-off is a deadset liability, and you're well rid of it. Enjoy the new car. Get on with your life. It's. A. New. Car. Enjoy it.

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Find out more about bad credit car loans here


I know you can't go back in time and change things, but this will be a salient lesson for anyone who is buying a new car today.

  1. Don't put more than $500 deposit down. Ever. Especially on an unpopular car like a Camry. The dealer has trouble shifting them, therefore, you can set the terms of trade. They are gagging for your business, so you get to tell them how much deposit you're prepared to put down. This way, should you decide to back out, the most you can be out of pocket is $500.
  2. NEVER - NEVER - pay the balance until the car is right there in front of you, and you're totally happy with it. You wouldn't pay a tradie the whole cost of the new bathroom up front, would you? Same thing here. Money is the only leverage you have. Once you hand it over: No more leverage. Pay it at the very end of the deal.
  3. Why deal with the dealer? It's always a headache. USE A BROKER. They do all the heavy lifting. They save you thousands. They insulate you from these kinds of mongrel dealer antics and many more variations on this theme. I have put hundreds of 2UE listeners onto my broker without a single complaint - just fill in my CONTACT FORM HERE. This website has a contact form expressly for this purpose ON EVERY PAGE. It's that simple. New car delivered to your door. Full tank of fuel. No face-to-face time with the dealer. Trade-in also handled as if by remote control. No rip-offs. Easy. Everyone wins.
  4. I'm curious to know how you ended up with a repaired write-off. You must've bought the X-Trail used. If you buy a used car, always get the 'works burger' PPSR checks (Personal Property Securities Register). Go to https://transact.ppsr.gov.au/ppsr/QuickVINSearch to start this research. I also have a used car checklist to help used car buyers through the process.

However hard I look at your account of events, Ben, I don't see you've been monumentally wronged here.


John Cadogan