What are your rights worth to you?
If you said “$200,” Chrysler may be able to help you with that (although you may want to reconsider).
Reports are coming in that some Chrysler dealerships have been including arbitration clauses in customer agreements, adding them to sales contracts in exchange for a relatively meager $200 discount – commonly referred to as the “friends and family” discount – even when the purchaser isn’t a friend or family member of the dealer.
Arbitration clauses restrict the means by which you can seek relief when there is a dispute or problem with your purchase. The specific arbitration clause mentioned above, listed in Chrysler’s “Employee Advantage – Friends Program Pricing & Acknowledgement Form,” restricts consumers from suing under the Lemon Law and/or Federal Warranty Laws.
This means, if the car is defective or breaks down repeatedly, the only avenues for remedy are governed by Chrysler (i.e. through Chrysler customer service or an authorized Chrysler dealership). No State Lemon Law or Federal Warranty Law will be able to help you.
That said, it is possible to buy a car at a discount without signing away your rights. We understand that buying a car can be an exhilarating, yet exhausting process, and by the end of the day, you just want to sign what you have to sign to get into your new car and off the lot. But you shouldn’t let your guard down once you’ve decided to make your purchase; shifty dealers may try to take advantage of you when you’re least expecting it.
Keep these tips in mind to avoid signing away your Lemon Law rights:
- ALWAYS negotiate your best price; you don’t need to sign away your rights to get a deal.
- ALWAYS read paperwork thoroughly, at the time of sale, before you sign it.
- NEVER sign any automotive sale agreement or lease that includes an arbitration clause.
- NEVER sign any legally binding document you don’t completely understand.
Respective to the average cost of a new car, $200 is a very small amount of money, and – as mentioned earlier – it is often possible to negotiate the price of a vehicle lower than the dealer invoice. Waiving your rights for something you could get anyway simply isn’t worth the trade-off.
So ask yourself one more time: Are your state and federal rights really worth $200 to you? While the beckon and call of two bills may sound alluring, you may come to regret it should you experience any problems with your vehicle down the road.