Before entering into any contract for a motor vehicle, it is advisable that you read and understand these common sense steps to buying.
DON’T GET IN A HURRY, AND DON’T BE PRESSURED. Remember that you are making a major purchase. If you need to think about it overnight, be willing to walk away and go back tomorrow. Don’t sign anything until you are ready to buy.
KNOW WHAT YOU ARE SIGNING. Carefully scrutinize every document before you sign, especially the retail installment contract. NEVER let someone “tell” you what the contract says. Examine and understand the sales price, interest rates, payments, trade-in values, and pay-offs. If you are leasing, or financing with a balloon payment at he end, make sure you are aware of your responsibilities. NEVER sign a blank form, or one with blank spaces in it. Make sure that you understand every amount listed, and that it agrees with the “deal” that you made.
THERE IS NO THREE-DAY RIGHT TO CANCEL. Many consumers believe the law allows them 3 days in which they can change their mind and cancel the contract. They are wrong. When you sign a contract at the dealership, it is a valid contract, and usually only subject to financing approval.
GET IT IN WRITING. If there are agreements that are not a part of the contract, such as the opportunity to drive the vehicle over the weekend before deciding to purchase, get the agreement in writing and signed by a manager. A written agreement almost always takes precedence over any oral representation.
TRUTHFUL ADVERTISING AND ACCURATE WINDOW STICKERS. You should be able to buy the vehicle for the price advertised. Any “add-ons” are optional. All new cars are required by Federal law to have the factory “MSRP” window sticker on the car.
A DEAL IS A DEAL. Once you have signed a retail installment loan contract and taken possession of the vehicle, normally the contract can only be cancelled if: 1) both parties agree to cancel it; 2) the financing does not go through; or 3) there is a written agreement that it can be cancelled, such as after a weekend “trial” period.
GET A COPY OF EVERYTHING YOU SIGN. You are entitled to a copy of every signed document. Make sure you get them at the time of signing.
CAREFULLY CONSIDER WHICH OPTIONAL ITEMS YOU CHOOSE. Additional items such as extended service agreements, credit life and/or disability insurance, GAP coverage, etc. are optional. Make sure you understand what they are, and whether any or all of them are right for you.