Car dealers are working hard right now putting out a false spin, claiming they do not even engage in lending,falsely asserting they just “facilitate” loans for car purchases.
Yeah, and in the process, dealers “facilitate” low and moderate income people out of billions in extra finance charges! The truth is that dealers make a huge percentage of their profits secretly from kickbacks on markups in vehicle financing. No wonder dealer advertising lures the public with promises of “easy financing”.
Many crooked dealers actually falsify a buyer’s credit– frequently without the buyer’s knowledge or consent. This was exactly the same problem that occurred with the mortgage meltdown.
Here is a very interesting video on You Tube about a man that purchased a car that had, at some point, been completely submerged under water. Something of a sales arbitration horror story.
There are lessons to be learned from this event.
Do NOT take delivery of a car you are buying where work is orally “promised”. Even if the promise of repairs is in writing, it is best to leave the car at the dealership (do NOT even drive it home overnight) but let the dealer fix it first. Then only AFTER the dealer has attempted the promised repairs do your further inspect it before deciding whether you still want to complete the deal.
Car faxes are highly overrated. They do not replace a careful inspection by a qualified mechanic. Car faxes seldom provide sufficient information about a vehicle’s history of accidents, past repairs, mechanical condition, out of state salvage title etc.to be of much use in learning much about the real history of a car.
Never sign a contract that has an arbitration provision in it, giving up your right to a trial by jury. Demand that the dealer use a different form contract (yes they have them) or go shopping for a car at another dealership that does not use contracts with arbitration clauses. Yes people, this requires that you READ the contract. Try calling a dealership first before you go there and ask them if they use contracts without arbitration clauses. Then verify it when you first arrive and again before signing the actual contract.
An Iraq war veteran, Corporal Woods, purchased a vehicle from an auto dealer in the San Francisco area only to find that the car had been written off previous as the consequence of and accident. This is not a-typical. In general, veterans find themselves prayed on by unscrupulous sales people and lenders.
Unfortunately, it seems that there is an inordinate number of unscrupulous people engaged in the car sales business. We’ve all heard the jokes about the ‘used car salesman’. A comparison was made a few years ago that the difference between a used car salesman and a computer salesman is that the used car salesman at least knows when he (or she) is lying.
Problematically, this unscrupulous, and often illegal, behavior is not limited just to the representations made about a vehicle. Often times it will extend to the virtual ‘kidnapping’ of the unsuspecting shopper by the dealership and gross misrepresentation regarding actual costs and financing.
Frequently, people that have been unfairly manipulated into purchasing vehicles later find themselves unable to make the payments which then cascades into debt collector persecution, repossession, destruction of credit rating and subsequently a host of other credit related problems. To say nothing of stress and not being able to get to work.
Aurora Harris, proprietor of The Honest Lawyer, and herself a nationally renowned consumer attorney who has often broken new ground in defending consumers from predatory lending and sales practices, has written an article that is posted on her personal web site. You can read the full article here: http://www.theharrislawfirmonline.com/2009/12/avoiding-auto-dealer-fraud/
If you suspect that a creditor may be planning to sue you, do not wait for “proper service”. Unfortunately you may not know what is “proper service” of a lawsuit. Also a disreputable process server may lie about having given you court papers, when in truth you never received them. Always give your creditors an updated address or they may serve a “John Doe” at your old apartment address, claiming he is your room mate. And guess what, that guy is just going to throw your court papers away.
I think if you are worried about being sued, it is much better to go on line periodically and check the local court house web site to search for your own name under parties to a civil lawsuit.
Otherwise, you might be shocked to discover that a case is proceeding to judgment that you did not even know about. If so, you need to act quickly. The law does not protect those people that sleep on their rights.
Here is an example how to find you local court web site. If you live in Orange County you would google “Orange County Superior Court”. When the court web site appears, then look for “on-line services” or “civil”. (You might want to check out your traffic tickets while you are there.) Look for a the link to “civil case” “party name”. Once you found any case with your name on it, you want to click on it and try and print the docket— which is a list of papers that have been filed in that particular case. Search the docket especially for “proof of service” or “request to enter default” which is a big clue that someone is claiming to have served you and is proceeding to judgment without your knowledge.
As soon as you discover a case you do not know about it is best run immediately to the clerk’s office of the court house and get copies of everything and call a lawyer. Timing is everything. Do not wait! Setting aside defaults can be difficult, if not impossible if you wait too long.
Many counties are starting to charge a nominal amount for name searches and in others (like Orange Co) it is free. Copies of some case files ( like some unlimited jurisdiction lawsuits filed in the Central District in Los Angeles Superior Court) can be purchased on-line without a trip to the court house.