For over 13 years, my practice has been primarily focused on helping consumers AFTER their purchase of a consumer product has left them disappointed. As an attorney, I most often encounter clients once that person or business has had something bad happen to them. This is why I urge consumers to take a few steps to prevent these bad things from happening.
I recommend that consumers always have a vehicle inspected prior to purchase. Vehicles are a serious investment, and consumers have a RIGHT to have a vehicle they want to purchase inspected prior to buying it. Unfortunately, most people never do. The majority of Lemon Law cases I take begin with the client neglecting to take this simple step.
Before you plunk down $10,000 or more on a used car it is certainly worth spending a couple hundred dollars to have the vehicle inspected by somebody qualified to evaluate the vehicle.
In a perfect world, you could take that vehicle—let’s say a Toyota—to a Toyota dealership to have them check out the car before you buy it.
Similarly, before you sign on the dotted line, make sure that the agreement you are signing actually reflects the terms of the deal you are making.
I cannot say how many people have called my office to tell me that they executed a contract to buy a vehicle with a stated APR that the dealer told them will come down in three months, or six months, or a year but that there is no agreement in writing to reduce the APR.
I have also seen many cases where the consumer spends a lot of time and effort to negotiate a great deal but that some other set of numbers end up on their contract which do not reflect the deal that believed they negotiated.
The law presumes that you have read and understood the document that you have signed. Just imagine yourself walking into court with your signed contract. The terms of that contract are only reflecting those that the dealer wanted. Now you are left explaining to the judge how it is that you ended up signing a contract that is not what you agreed to.
If the contract that the dealer puts in front of you to sign does NOT actually state the terms of the deal that you are agreeing to, DO NOT SIGN THAT CONTRACT.
It’s that simple. If the dealer won’t put it in writing get up and walk away.
And, for good measure, do not leave the dealership without copies of every piece of paper you have signed. The most unscrupulous dealers will have no problem altering your documents and submitting them for a loan, leaving you with no proof of what was agreed to and leaving that unscrupulous dealer free to make up whatever story they want.