Car Contract Signing



After 33 years in the Car Business, I thought I had seen everything!  I was wrong.  In August of 2014, a Client of mine who just finished Leasing a Chevrolet Pick-Up Truck call me on a Sunday to tell me his daughter leased a car on Saturday.  His daughter leased a New Kia with a Window of Sticker Price of $18,800.  Her monthly lease payment was $394 per month for 36 months with a total of $2,200 Total Out-of-Pocket PLUS, she traded-in her fathers car as additional down payment. She received only $500 for her fathers car making the Total down payment $2,700.   LET’S DO THE MATH!  $394 x 36 Months = $14,184 PLUS $2,700 upfront EQUALS $16,884 for a car.  The Purchase option at the end of the lease was $10,860 +Tax.  If she purchased the vehicle at the end of the lease she would have spent in total $28,501 for a car that only had a window sticker of $18,800.   Almost $10,000 OVER LIST PRICE!

If this not bad enough, wait until you hear the whole story.   This is where it really gets interesting.   She was sold on the vehicle BASED ON THE FACT She could only afford $200 a month and no higher.   They explained to her that the dealership would give her a check for $2400 after she picks up the car and that she should use that money to lower her monthly payment down to $194 a month which she can afford.   She asked what happens at the end of the first year, do my monthly payments go up to $394 and if so, I can not afford it!   She was told by her salesman, sales manager and general manager she can trade-in the vehicle after one year with NO PENALTY.  Based on this promise (with nothing in writing) she signed the lease contract and drove the car home the same day.   Now she is legally bound by the contractual agreement. It should be noted that she did not have the $2,200 need in cash upfront so the dealership had her sign a PROMISARY NOTE which simply says that she promises to pay the dealership by Monday the money owed or she would incur serious penalties.

Most Consumers think they have 3 days of right of recession.  THIS IS NOT TRUE IN THE CAR BUSINESS.  The 72 hour right of recession APPLIES ONLY WHEN THE SELLER INITIATES THE CONTACT FOR THE PURPOSE OF SELLING YOU A PRODUCT OR SERVICE.  Essentially the seller “put you in the market”.  You where not considering a purchase of this kind until the seller approached you and sold you his or her product.   In the Car Business, You go to the Car Dealerships Showroom making the initial inquiry “you put yourself in the market” NOT the Car Dealer…

On Monday afternoon I accompanied my Client and his daughter to the dealership. My intention was to get the deal reversed.  I was very polite.  I told my client please do not raise your voice as that does not help at all.  He stayed quite but actually had to leave the showroom at one point because he was so very angry.  He told my later he could not believe what he was hearing.

The position of the dealership was that she is over 18 years old.  She was not coarsest into signing anything.  They had no intention of reversing the Lease Contract.  I spoke with the Sales Manager (3 different ones) then I spoke to the General Sales Manager who flat out told me there was nothing I can do about it.  I then stood up, got right in his face and said, “I know what you did here” I am retired from the Car Business after 33 years.  First I am appalled at the attitude you have taken.  Second, I have NEVER HEARD of a dealership telling a customer “HERE IS $2400” now your payment is under $200 and after one year come back and trade-in the vehicle with no penalty (talk about lying and stealing money legally).  Third, I told the GSM that the contract is NULL & VOID because she did NOT have permission to trade-in her father car.   His response to me was that was not true and that he is holding the daughter to the contract..  I then asked to speak to the owner of the dealership.

I was able to speak with the owner via phone.  He had been briefed by his staff and was as belligerent as his managers.  He said the same thing the GSM told me “We have a contract and we expect her to live up to it”.

I then questioned the owner about the $2400 that was to be given back to the customer and the offer of trading in the vehicle after 12 months without a penalty.  I ask the owner of the KIA Dealership exactly how does that work? He said the same thing all the other managers were saying.  I THEN ASKED HOW THE VALUE OF THE TRADE AND THE PAYOFF AMOUNT AT THE END OF 12 MONTHS WOULD BE HANDLED?  His response was simply, any inequity between the value of the car and how much was stilled owed would be rolled into the next lease with no penalty.   Please understand the selling price of the car on the Lease Contract was $24,850 PLUS a $940 warranty.  There is NO WAY it could ever be an even swap as the daughter was lead to believe.   I said to the Owner explain to me where there is “NO PENALTY”.  He said there is no penalty but it would be her choice if she wanted to trade-in the vehicle or not.  Then, I called him out on the carpet explaining how unethical his sales tactics are and probably illegal.   I then said to him “I know this contract is null and void because you can not “cash the contract” without proof of the trade to the bank” (meaning copies of the front and back of the title sent along with the bank contract to the bank).   I told him I was going to sit in the showroom for however long it took to get everything straighten out.   I also said “I will call news 12 New Jersey, “WABC TV 7 on-your-side and any other news media I can get to come down here right now”.  I said, “They will have a field day with this story”.

I must admit that this dealership had all of they legal basis covered.   They had her sign the actual window sticker, then she signed the amended window sticker with over $5,000 worth of junk stuff like pinstripe, wheel molding, door edge guards and paint protection.  Plus she purchase a warranty for $940 additional even though she planned on trading in the after one year… She acknowledged that fact that she was “buying” all of these extras BUT all she cared about was her monthly payment being under $200 and that is the only reason she took the deal.

I was determined to get this matter resolved.  As we sat in the showroom, my clients daughter starting looking up the phone number for News 12 New Jersey.  My client started calling WABC TV, WCBS TV, WNBC TV trying to speak with someone who would be interest in this story.  Within 15 minutes of us trying to reach out for the media, a sales manager came over and re-negotiated the deal WITHOUT the trade-in.  The final deal was $2,000 Total out-of-pocket and exactly $200 per month.   Now at $200 x 36 Months = $7,200 Plus $2,000 upfront for a Grand TOTAL of $9,200  INSTEAD OF $16,884….

When his daughter signed the new contract, I was sitting right next to her.  I picked up the contract to show her the NEW Selling Price of $17,000 instead of $25,800 ($24,860 Plus $940 for a warranty)…


Edward Juliano


[email protected]