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Avoiding Auto Dealership Scam

I just met with another individual who appears to be the victim of a scam by a car dealership and this seems like as good a time as any to warn others about it. The consumer went to a car dealership and got what they thought was a sweetheart deal on financing for a car with very low interest rates, very low monthly payments and a low total price. Some of the spaces on the financing paperwork were left blank but the consumer is not an expert on auto financing and was told that those blanks would be “filled in by the finance person” later. The consumer, not knowing anything was wrong took their car and left the dealership. Three weeks later the dealership contacted the consumer and in a frantic manner told the consumer that they had to come to the dealership IMMEDIATELY and that some of the paperwork was not finished! There was a mistake that had to be fixed right away or they could lose the car!

What did the consumer actually receive when he went to the dealership? He was given a new contract which fundamentally different terms than the old one, with a high interest rate, high monthly payments and a higher total price for the car. The consumer was told that previous set of paperwork had been accidentally lost by “the bank” and the consumer had no choice but to sign the new agreement.

You always have a choice, no one can force you to sign a contract. If you go to buy a vehicle and large portions of the contract are blank, do not agree to sign it. Request to take it with you, take it home and read it carefully. The job of the person selling you the car is to sell you that car no matter what, if they pressure you to sign or tell you that the deal is a one time offer and won’t last, do not be pressured. If on the contract the interest rate or monthly payments or total value for the car are left blank, do not sign it without reading it carefully. Claiming you did not understand a contract will almost never work in court. Keep an eye out for this scam and hopefully you can avoid falling victim to it.

This document has been provided for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. Please consult your attorney in connection with any legal issues related to the matters discussed in this article as the applicability of state, local and federal laws may vary.

  • ABC News
  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • CBS 4
  • CNN
  • Daily Business Review
  • Florida Trend's - Florida Legal Elite 2014
  • Florida Trend's - Florida Legal Elite 2014
  • National Association of Consumer Advocates
  • National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys
  • NBC News
  • National Consumer Law Center
  • The New York Times
  • Avvo
  • Avvo
  • Avvo
  • Avvo
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