main image

Car Dealership Complaint Letter (Free Template)

Claudia Diaz - Car Dealership - February 26, 2023

Ready to write your complaint letter?

Start Letter


    Did you go to a car dealership to purchase your dream car but had a bad experience with the car or sales team? Consider writing a complaint letter to a car dealership if you have a dispute against them because of misrepresentation, defects with the car, or failure to receive a refund. In this article, learn how to write a complaint or demand letter to a car dealership, what to include in your letter, and why sending a letter is important.

    Did you know we have a free tool powered by AI that helps you create a demand letter? Check out our demand letter tool.

    Common Reasons to Send a Demand Letter to a Car Dealership 

    Below are some common reasons to send a demand letter to a car dealership:

    • You bought a car with mechanical defects. 

    • The dealership made a fraudulent misrepresentation or advertising regarding the car you purchased. 

    • The car dealership refuses to fix your car even though you purchased a warranty that covers the needed repairs. 

    • The car dealership refuses to refund your purchase. For example, you canceled an extended warranty you purchased, and the dealership agreed to refund you but never did.

    Why is a Demand Letter to a Car Dealership Important?

    If you have a dispute with a car dealership, consider sending a demand letter, as it can be a very effective way to resolve the dispute outside of court. A demand letter also acts as notice to the car dealership of your intent to sue if you can’t resolve the problem. 

    Here are some other good reasons to first send a demand letter to a car dealership before taking legal action:  

    1. Depending on the state you are filing a lawsuit in, you may be required to demand payment from the car dealership before filing. For example, in California, in small claims courts, you are required to first demand payment from the car dealership before suing. By sending a demand letter, you are efficiently completing this requirement. 

    2. A demand letter can help you better organize your case against the car dealership. If you end up filing a lawsuit against the car dealership you will need to make a concise claim and prove your case to a judge. Writing a demand letter will help you think through every aspect of your case, including the important facts, legal arguments, and evidence you'll need to prove your claim. A demand letter will prepare you for litigation even before you file a lawsuit.

    3. A demand letter signals to the car dealership that you are serious about resolving the dispute and that you are willing to take action. 

    4. Sending a written demand letter to a car dealership assures you there is a record of your attempt to settle. So while demands can be made orally, we recommend making any demands in writing. Writing a letter can sometimes be very effective as it is a more formal way of making a demand to a car dealership. 

    5. The most important reason to send a demand letter to a car dealership is that it may lead to a settlement without incurring court costs!  

    Do I Need to Hire an Attorney to Write a Demand Letter to a Car Dealership?

    The decision is up to you to make. There is no formal requirement that states you need an attorney to write your demand letter. You can write a demand letter on your own. 

    However, if you bought a “lemon,” meaning a car that has defects that cannot be reasonably repaired, from a car dealership, consider reaching out to a lawyer that specializes in Lemon laws. Lemon laws are designed to protect consumers who purchase new cars, trucks, SUVs, and minivans. A lawyer that handles lemon law cases can help you better understand your claims against the car dealership.

    What to Include in Your Demand Letter to a Car Dealership 

    If you are unsure of what to include in your complaint letter to a car dealership, we have included suggestions on the most important things to include in your complaint letter to a car dealership:  

    • Discuss the most important facts and explain why you are seeking payment. For example, you are demanding payment because the car dealership refused to cover the costs of repairs you had to make to the car you purchased, even though you had purchased the car dealership warranty that was supposed to cover those repairs.  

    • Discuss any relevant state or federal laws that the car dealership has violated. For example, states have “lemon laws” that protect consumers when they purchase new vehicles like cars and SUVs from car dealerships. If the car dealership owes you money and has violated a state lemon law, include the relevant law in the demand letter. 

    • Include your contact information, so the car dealership knows where to reach you in case they want to accept your demands. Our clients often choose to communicate via email or other forms of writing. Make sure to include an email address along with any other form of communication you are comfortable with. 

    • Include where you would like to receive payment. Include your mailing address so the car dealership knows where they can mail a check to you.

    • Attach other documents that may be necessary and could be used as evidence later in case of legal action. For example, attach any contracts or written agreements between you and the car dealership.   

    • Include a deadline to respond to you. Consider giving the car dealership 14 days to respond to you and state that if they do not respond within that time, you intend to sue them. 

    Once you have sent your demand letter, keep it in your records. In the event you do end up filing a small claims lawsuit, you can bring it to the hearing and show it to the judge. This is especially handy if the car dealership claims they didn’t receive the complaint letter. 

    Sample Demand Letter to a Car Dealership  

    Below is a sample demand letter to a car dealership. This sample demand letter involves a dispute between a consumer and a car dealership over a refund. Use this sample to help you write your own demand letter, but remember to only discuss the dispute you are having with the car dealership. Also, make sure it is clear in the letter why you are demanding payment.

    Continue Exploring: Additional demand letter templates.

    How to Send a Demand Letter to a Car Dealership  

    You may send your demand letter to a car dealership via email or mail. For letters that you mail, consider sending your letter with tracking information so that you know when it has been delivered. 

    Next Steps After Sending a Demand Letter to a Car Dealership

    Did you send a demand letter to a car dealership but didn’t receive a response? It may be time to consider suing the car dealership in small claims court. Small claims courts are able to handle a variety of cases involving car dealerships at a low cost. This is because small claims courts were intended to be affordable and user-friendly. In some small claims courts, attorneys are not even allowed to represent you making the cost of small claims litigation even more affordable. 

    Besides filing a small claims lawsuit, you may also want to consider filing a complaint against the car dealership with a state, federal, or non-governmental organization. For example, your state’s Attorney General’s Office may handle complaints against car dealerships. 

    Up Next: Learn about how small claims court works.


    Claudia Diaz

    Legal Educator @ People Clerk. Claudia holds a J.D. degree and is a certified mediator in New York and Florida. She has participated in dozens of small claims mediations in New York City courts.

    Subscribe for Small Claims Tips