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Buyer's remorse - reneging on the car deal

May 19th, 2013 at 09:32 am

OK, while all of you have been congratulating me, I am feeling more and more upset about the whole new car purchase deal. Don’t get me wrong, the congrats was just what I wanted to hear to reassure myself I didn’t make a mistake. But that nagging feeling didn’t go away.

When I got home yesterday, I was still feeling nervous about the whole thing. As I read through the contract I had signed, I discovered a $199 charge for windshield etching on the bill that I hadn’t even seen when I signed it!

OF course, there was also the $400 “conveyance fee. Both those fees were PREPRINTED on the purchase agreement. When “Wanda” handed me the contract to sign, she took her index finger and, pointing to each handwritten figure on the form, she detailed the price and various options, sales tax, etc, and said out loud the calculations for each, totally distracting me from the preprinted fees. Well, I saw that conveyance fee and didn’t challenge it, but totally missed the etching fee.
Here’s how that line read: (Optional) Anti-Theft window Etching
I have been offered Anti-Theft Window Etching
__________________________________________

There’s a line below where it appears you’re supposed to sign to indicate you were offered it and declined. Some quick online research told me that etching fee is a widely used dealer tactic to basically pad their wallets. Many police stations do this for like $20 or even for free. I’m quite sure now that line item is required on the form, however they did not even bring it up with me and I didn’t sign it, though I did sign the contract.

Here's a portion of the contract. I just deleted my personal info at top and bottom and yes, my signature is at bottom. Notice, too,that they failed to fill in the warranty information at left side.



So I don’t like feeling like I was being taken advantage of after already knowing I bought considerably more car than I’d planned to, but the etching fee just put me over the top.

I not only don’t want to pay that, but I don’t want to buy the car from them, either.

Problem is, I had to give them a $500 deposit, and I will probably lose that money if I walk away from the deal. Although their sales tactics are unethical, I don’t believe they are illegal or even fraudulent. I’m not really sure if I can get my deposit back based on the fact they didn’t bring up the window etching before giving me the contract to sign. I should have read it, and I didn’t.

I will call Motor Vehicles and Consumer Protection to clarify it. I will call Colonial Ford to request return of the deposit. If they refuse, which they likely will, I will also call Ford Motor Co. to complain. I did this once years ago with Honda Motor Co. over some big repair bill I got from the dealer, and they did make contact with the dealer, who then gave me a partial discount on the bill because of it. The car maker is concerned with how dealers treat their customers, since it reflects badly on them as well.

After all this, I again looked over the proposed purchase agreement (which I HADN’t signed) from the first dealer I saw. He didn’t try to sell me a higher end version of the car I didn’t want and really, the car was just the “middle road” model (Basic: S, Mid-Level: SE and High End: SES) with auto transmission. I got the same discounts as I got at the 2nd dealer. It was a decent price at $17,321. I just balked when they offered only $800 for my Honda, although he had indicated before I walked out that he could probably get “a few hundred more” for my Honda if that would seal the deal. So if he did that and I also got them to knock off their stupid “document” fee of $75, then I would save an additional $275.

Then, if I found another upfront bonus reward card to apply for, get it in about a week, then use it to partially pay for the car, that’s an easy $100 back in a single transaction. I could use other rewards cards to wrack up points as well, as some of you have suggested. (Good suggestion, the money will be in my checking account anyway after being transferred, so why not?) So my loss would not be $500, it would be $125.

What do you think of all this? I felt so angry and stupid for so easily falling for some of the oldest car dealer scams around. Me, Patient Saver, who’s usually so careful about stuff like this. And the more I think of, I know I won’t likely use half that high end tech stuff in the SES model, don’t need a moon roof AT ALL, and could do without heated seats and leather at that.

Doing without all those nice extras would put $2390 back in my pocket, or $2265 after losing part of that $500 deposit.

12 Responses to “Buyer's remorse - reneging on the car deal”

  1. Looking Forward Says:

    If you are really unhappy I think that will just fester and grow. I guess it would be best to do something now. Otherwise instead of loving the new car you'll just beat yourself up every time you look at it. Frown

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    Isn't there a place on the contract that says you can cancel the transaction within three business days? Does it indicate any fee for doing so. It doesn't not seem right to take your deposit AT ALL. I would call them today to and talk to someone at the dealership.

    Definitely do what you feel is right for you.

  3. PatientSaver Says:

    No, while many people seem to thin you can cancel out of any purchase agreement you make, this does NOT apply to car purchases. I looked it up online on a state website. It only applies to certain categories of purchases like health clubs, timeshares and a bunch of other things. It does not apply to real estate or cars; i have no idea why. A lot of people are misinformed about that.

  4. PatientSaver Says:

    Here is a portion of a Consumer Protection brochure I found online:

    Buying a new car? Signing up with a health club or dating service? Replacing your roof or looking to pre-buy heating oil? If so, you’ll most likely be asked to sign a
    contract. Some contracts are thick and imposing; others are a single sheet of paper.
    Whether they’re called “Service Agreements” or “Buyer’s Agreements,” you, the buyer, need to read and understand them before you sign. Each year, some consumers are shocked to learn that by signing a seemingly innocent piece of paper, they’ve made a binding legal agreement that costs more than they expected, or that doesn’t meet their needs. They learn the hard way that once they sign on the bottom line, they are legally obligated to fulfi ll the terms of the contract, for the
    length of the contract.

    Don’t be rushed into a contract!
    • Sign only when you’re ready, not when you feel “pressured.”
    • Shop around and ask questions.
    • Take the time to read and fully understand all parts of any contract or written agree- ment before signing.
    • If you still have questions or concerns, seek legal advice.
    Connecticut law makes specific provisions for certain contracts. Here are some things to watch for in everyday consumer contracts.

    Health Club
    Your membership agreement must be in writing and:
    • include notice of your right to cancel within 3 business days and inform you of
    the proper cancellation procedures;
    • tell you of your right to cancel if the club moves or closes down;
    • notify you of your right to a pro-rated refund if you move more than 25 miles
    from the club or if you become disabled
    and provide proper medical documentation;
    and
    • include a list of all contract prices and equipment.
    No health club contract may last longer than 24 months and no more than one-half of the contract fee can be collected in advance. Contracts cannot include an automatic renewal clause, except for a period up to one month. The price of this renewal
    cannot increase or decrease unless the contract states the amount of the price change or how it was calculated.

    Home Improvement
    Your contract and any subsequent changes must be in writing. The contract is not valid unless it contains all the following information, and is entered into by a Connecticut-registered con- tractor and/or salesperson. The contract must:
    • include the contractor’s name, address, and Connecticut Home Improvement registration number;
    • include the date of the transaction, plus
    both a start and end date for the work;
    • be signed by both you and the contractor
    or registered salesperson; and
    • include notice of the Buyer’s Right to
    Cancel within 3 Business Days (Saturday
    is a legal business day in Connecticut.)

    New or Used Vehicles
    Typically, a written lease or purchase contract for a vehicle is fully legal and binding from the time you sign the document. There is no automatic 3-day Right to Cancel
    . Be sure you understand all the terms and conditions before you sign!

  5. creditcardfree Says:

    Darn, sorry to hear the three day contract cancellation does not apply in CT. I'm pretty sure it has in the two states I've lived in. I'll have to double check.

  6. Analise Says:

    Maybe you should go back to the dealer and see if they'll work with you to get the price down. They may be willing to negotiate a bit more if they know you will cancel. Decide what would have to happen to feel satisfied enough to go through with the purchase and go in with that mindset. If you still decide not to buy, I do hope you get your $500 back.

  7. MonkeyMama Says:

    I would also call the dealership today. Just because they don't *have to* refund your deposit doesn't mean that they won't. It may be pretty simple to get out of. Some businesses are just better that way with customer service. I think the sooner you contact them the better leg you have to stand on as far as asking.

    Personally, I'd absolutely get the less expensive car. I think the upgrades are the kinds of things where the novelty wears off very quickly. Some people really value that stuff. I personally have a hard time justifying paying much more than a basic car with basic features. The extra just doesn't mean *that much* to me. I found I was personally disappointed the first time I bought an "almost new" car having never owned a car newer than 10 years in the past. It ended up feeling like a huge waste of money (though I think the benefit is more on the back end because car will last much longer). But I just remember feeling extremely unimpressed with spending so much more for really nothing more in return but "newer" and "shinier."

    Whatever you do, take your time and read all the fine print on the next contract.

  8. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    That would make me spit bullets to find those kind of shenanigans played on me. Definitely call the dealer asap and if no satisfaction there, make lots of noise to the manufacturer.

  9. PatientSaver Says:

    Spitting bullets...yes, that's how it makes me feel!

    Dealership is closed on Sundays, monekeymama but you can be sure this is the first thing i will address tomorrow morning. DMV is closed on MOndays, so that will have to wait til Tuesday, but i can see how it's going to go wit the dealer tomorrow and then call Ford Motor Co., to start.

    Analise, I'm afraid that the time to negotiate a price is before you sign the contract, not after. I was just plain not paying attention, so i'm sure they'd laugh in my face if i started negotiations up anew. Although I will protest etching cost, I plan to pull out of the deal whether or not they eliminate the etching fee.

    I am investigating rewards CCs right now so i can use 1, possibly more, to pay for the car at a different dealer. I figure if i apply for 2 rewards cards at the same time, the 2nd inquiry won't show up on my credit report for at least 24 hours, so both could be approved with no issues. (Not that i've had issues in the past, but not sure if the ding your credit takes when they do a check hurts enough to justify a no approval on a second card....

  10. Petunia 100 Says:

    In your post yesterday, you were very pleased with both the car and the price. I'd be upset about them padding the deal with bogus charges too. It occurs to me though, that they would probably rather sell you the car than keep your $500. Have you considered talking to the sales manager and explaining your position? If they know you will walk over the charges, they may be willing to waive them. Would you be happy with the car if they were to remove the etching and conveyance fees?

  11. snafu Says:

    Sorry you're having 2nd thoughts. What is the KBB trade in value of your Honda?

    Should the current agreement be cancelled, I hope you'll try out Hyundai, perhaps Accent before making a final decision. I am not promoting nor do I have any connection to Hyundai. I mention this because I attended a seminar that featured *Lemon Aid* author, Phil Edmonston who when asked by someone in the audience, explained both he and his wife chose to buy Hyundai vehicles.



  12. PatientSaver Says:

    Snafu: The KBB value on my car is between $1400 and $1800. I actually was seriously considering the Accent although now I'm leaning toward even better fuel economy with a Civic HF. It's what I drive now, but much older model. The new one gets 41 highway, non-hybrid. Hard to beat that, though the price is up there...$20,000.

    That's also the price of this loaded Fiesta I'm disputing. It almost comes down to do i want to spend $20K on a fully loaded, good looking, fun to drive Fiesta with the hatckback that I wanted, OR a rather boring Honda with superior reliability over the Ford.

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