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Avoiding the Rush to Sign

If you're in the market for a car and before going to the dealership, here are a couple of important pointers to help you make a wise decision before you sign.

And remember:  Buying a new car requires you to take your time and do your homework before visiting a dealership.  Rushing through a car deal invites a dealer to potentially take advantage of you.

Before you sign or agree to anything, ask the following questions:

1.  What is the total price of the vehicle?

There's a lot of information on a purchase order, but the most important thing is the end price of a vehicle.  Be sure to validate all the charges that are on a purchase order.

2.  Does the dealer require an arbitration agreement in order to buy a car from that delership?

Arbitration agreements are usually bad for the consumer because they take away the consumer's rights for any legal redress if they have any problems with the dealership.  Watch out for arbitration agreements hidden in contracts, and don't buy from a dealership the requires them.

3.  What will the dealership do with your personal information?

Many dealerships ask consumers to sign an acknowledgement that the dealership has a right to sell personal information about that consumer.  If a dealership asks you to sign a statement acknowledging they can sell your private information, don't sign it.

Some other things a dealer contract should spell out, from the Web site auto.consumerguide.com:

*What's your down payment or how much will you have to pay immediately out of pocket, either in cash or combined with a trade-in or rebate?

*What's your trade-in value?  Make sure you've done your research so that you know what its value is.  Don't just take the dealer's opinion.

*Are all fees spelled out in the contract and how much are those fees?  Look for destination charges, sales tax, and title fees.

And remember, you have more bargaining power with a pre-approval certificate from Eagle Federal Credit Union.  Apply for it before you go shopping.







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