A Really Mean Dealer Trick

We have discussed CA dealer fraud cases more than once. The one we will disclose today is a really dastard type of dealer trick that dishonest car dealers will use on people with the least ability to pay.  The rationale is that if someone can hardly afford the car, they almost certainly can’t afford an attorney to represent them and will just “live with it.”

Here’s how this dealer trick is set up.  You go to the car dealer and everything seems normal.  You find a car, negotiate the price and go into the “finance office.”  The finance manager then takes out a Retail Sales Installment Contract, which is a really long document.  It’s all filled in and reflects all the numbers that you discussed.  The finance manager spends a lot of time explaining everything to you and going over all the numbers, starting at the top of the document and pulling it toward him. He’s meticulously going down the contract ensuring that all your questions are answered. As he’s getting toward the bottom of the document, the top is now hanging off the top of his desk – on the finance manager’s side.

And then comes the most decisive moment: all of a sudden he drops that big piece of paper down… So he backs up, and reaches down to pick up the contract, but doesn’t pick up the contract you thoroughly reviewed a moment ago. He picks up a totally different contract that is loaded with additional costs and items.  You might not catch it at first because the payment might even be the same – but the term of the contract has increased by a year.  If your payment is $400 a month for a 60-month contract and you were tricked into signing a 72-month or even 84-month contract, then you were just defrauded out of $4,800 – or $9,600 in the case of adding two more years! You have lost almost $10,000.

So how to protect yourself? During this transaction, there’s no way to protect yourself against this type of trick. This dealer trick is really bastard as you might not realise this for years because there might not be a difference in payment!  The only real protection you have is to re-read your contract once you get home.  Make sure that it’s what you agreed to. If it’s not then you should call an experienced dealer fraud attorney who specializes in this particular type of fraud.

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