Rule 3. Read and understand everything before you sign anything
As explained in Rule 1, signing a contract means you are legally committing yourself to everything it states. Yet a huge number of car buyers do not read the contracts for cars or car finance before signing. Or they don’t understand exactly what something means, but sign anyway because they’re too embarrassed to ask.
All contracts have terms and conditions, which may have implications for your ownership of the car, and you are legally bound to them once you sign the contract. So if you are not sure what you are getting yourself into, don’t sign.
Ask questions – as many as you like. If you don’t understand the answer, ask again. Ask someone else to explain it. If you’re not happy with the answers, walk away and get some answers elsewhere, even if you just need reassurance that you’re not being stupid.
It’s not uncommon for the purchase contract for a car to look different to the quotation you were given, or from what was originally advertised.
Compare them closely, and if there’s anything that doesn’t match, ask why. It may be an error, or the dealer may be trying to sneak something past you without you noticing. Is the finance rate still the same as what was originally quoted, or has that mysteriously gone up?
Next page: Who’s in charge here?