As we have reported repeatedly on this blog, car sales are down big time! As a result, dealers are doing everything they can to make a sale. Unfortunately, some dealers are more concerned with getting the cars off the lot immediately than they are about securing financing for their customers. And as new car sales continue to be more competitive, we are receiving a plethora of calls at 1-800 LEMON LAW regarding a dealer tactic known as Spot Delivery.
Most folks have heard of this tactic before. An alleged spot delivery transaction between a NJ consumer and the Brad Benson dealership found its way on National TV (and throughout cyberspace). Spot Delivery occurs when a dealer puts a consumer in a new car “on the spot,” with the consumer signing a number of documents, including a retail sales agreement. Later on, the customer starts receiving calls telling them their financing did not go through. In most cases, they are trying to get the customer to come back to pay more money than they originally agreed to. Some dealers play dirty when this occurs. They may threaten repossession, or not pay off a trade-in, or make numerous threatening phone calls. And in most cases, customers feel trapped into paying more money.
So, what should you do? You need to stand your ground. If you signed purchase documents and registration applications, obtained insurance, and a new license plate installed or an old plate transferred, the car belongs to you.
Here are some tips to follow if you find yourself in a spot delivery situation:
- Keep all copies of your paperwork and anything else associated with the sale (including calendars, photographs, advertisements). If the finance manager asks for your papers at any time for any reason, refuse! Keep these documents in a safe place, not the car.
- If you are called back to the dealership to sign additional papers, either do not go or do so in a different car than the one you bought.
- Have a friend or spouse drive you and witness whatever is being told to you. This will prevent the dealer from taking your car as hostage, an all too common happening.
- If a dispute arises with the dealer over the contract and the dealer demands the car is returned, park it in a garage or remote location until the matter is resolved, to prevent it from being taken against your wishes.
- Put together a complete time line of everything that happened from the time you thought of purchasing the car until the car was taken away. Try to remember specific names of dealership personnel and any statements that were made to you during conversations with the sales and finance staff.
- Keep track of all monies you had invested into the purchase, including registration, insurance, down payment and trade. Never pay cash and always get a receipt!
If after reading this, you realize that you are a victim of spot delivery, you may want to contact a consumer attorney to take action. At this time, we are handling spot delivery claims in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. If you are in either state, please contact us via e-mail or by calling Michael Sacks, Director of Client Services at 1-800-LEMON-LAW (1-800-536-6652) ext. 131. If you reside in another state, contact your attorney general or check out our attorney directory.