Don’t Take the Car Unless You’ve Signed All the Paperwork
When you need a car, it can seem like a Godsend when the dealer lets you take the car, even though the financing may not be final. You may be shopping in the evening or on a weekend, when the lenders are closed. The dealer may quote a rate and a payment, telling you that the paperwork will all come through in the next day or two. The clear impression is that your payments and your financing are a done deal.
Here’s what happens next, though, in many situations. The dealer calls you and tells you there’s been a “problem” with the financing and that you’ll need to come in and sign some additional documents. When you get to the dealership, you get a high pressure sales pitch to commit to a much higher interest rate, a longer term, or both. According to industry watchdogs, the average interest rate bump in one of these scams is 5%.
How can you protect yourself? Here are some of the warning signs:
- The dealer or salesperson asks you to sign a document where you don’t fill in one or more of the fields
- The dealer lets you take the car home without signing a sales agreement
- The dealer/salesperson cannot commit to an interest rate in writing
- The sales agreement uses the word “conditional” anywhere in the verbiage
That being said, you should never sign any document at a dealership if you don’t understand all of its terms. If you are unfamiliar with the legal terminology or find it confusing in any way, ask to take the document with you and have it reviewed by an attorney. If you do sign an agreement, make certain all fields are completed and ask for a copy of the finalized agreement. Never take a car home without signing a written agreement that states a specific interest rate