When buying a new or used car or truck, you should read the buyer’s order or contract carefully, or you could end up paying more than you expect.
The buyer's order includes a description of the vehicle being sold, including its make, model, color and any requested additions, such as warranties and vehicle options. The agreed purchase price should also be recorded in the buyer's order. The buyer's order is a binding contract, and by signing it, both buyer and seller agree to go through with the sale. However, money does not usually change hands at the time the buyer's order is issued.
Most dealerships are fair and honest, but some have been known to credit customers with less than the agreed amount for trade-ins, charging more than the negotiated vehicle price and charging for unauthorized add-ons. If you sign a contract without looking, it will be your word against the dealer’s if you later find that you’ve been hoodwinked.
Among the tricks that an unscrupulous dealership may use is so-called packing, in which a dealer adds items that the customer didn’t authorize, often hoping that they’ll go unnoticed. Such items may include a service contract or credit or gap insurance. There could also be charges for things you didn't request, such as undercoating, paint sealant and tire warranties. A very common tactic is to slip in very expensive extras without bringing it to the customer’s attention. In other cases, the dealer simply enters a higher vehicle price than the negotiated amount.
When you finance at Willis-Knighton Federal Credit Union, we check your buyer’s order to be sure you are aware of all charges and agree with all amounts.
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Reprinted in part from Consumer Reports.)
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