Monday, January 21, 2008
Help Me Howard: No Financing
When you sign on the dotted line the deal is done, right? Well, not always. Thousands of South Floridians have found out the hard way when buying a new car that the financing can cost you that car in a few weeks. How? Good question, and that's why one South Florida woman called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- To be blunt, to be a police officer, you have to be different. To pin on the badge, strap on that gun, load up the spare clips, then head out of your home to face who knows what takes a special kind of person.
Tiffany Thomas: "Safety is always important, you've got to always watch yourself, but I love my job. I love the criminal justice world, the justice system."
And it's been tough this past year to be a Broward Deputy with so many of them gunned down.
Tiffany Thomas: "We come out and do our job to the best of our abilities, and we expect the same in return."
Tiffany called us when she felt she was not getting the best treatment from a car dealer.
Tiffany Thomas: "I decided maybe I should go ahead and get rid of it and get another one at the same time."
She went in, picked out a new car, agreed on a price, signed the paperwork and drove off.
Tiffany Thomas: "I thought it was mine, the car was on my insurance, that's how much I thought it was mine."
But, a few weeks later, she got a phone call.
Tiffany Thomas: "'We need to redo the contract because the financing was not right.'"
Tiffany thought the financing had been final the day she signed all the paperwork, but she was never given a copy of the contract and can't prove it, so she went back to talk to the dealer.
Tiffany Thomas: "When I got in there, he said, 'You could do a leasing option,' I said, 'No, I don't want to do a leasing option.'"
Tiffany then asked for her old car back, more wonderful news.
Tiffany Thomas: "He said, 'I'm going to be real with you,' you're not going to get your car. Your car is at an auction. It's probably sold already.'"
Even worse, her old car was not paid off yet, meaning she still has to make payments on it. Now she doesn't have a new car, doesn't have her old car and no one seems to have any options for her.
Tiffany Thomas: "Nothing, absolutely nothing."
It's a new car, old car, no car mess. To unravel it, let's turn to Howard.
Howard Finkelstein: "Patrick, we hear complaints so often about financing falling through, and to buy the car the dealer wants you to pay a bigger deposit or higher monthly payments. In this case, since the financing fell through, legally she has to bring the car back, but, legally, the dealer has to provide her with her old car or the fair market value of that car."
When we called the dealership they told us they would not discuss details of Tiffany's case but added there are two sides to every story, and 'We are trying to get this resolved.' Tiffany says they then agreed to put her back in the new car, and while the financing was being worked out, they were paying for her rental car.
When it comes to car financing, Howard says remember one thing:
Howard Finkelstein: "No matter what they promise or tell you about your financing being approved, do not, under any circumstances drive that new car off the lot or turn in your old car until you get a document signed by a bank or finance company that they have approved you for the car loan. If you have to wait three or four days it's better to do that than to go through what Tiffany and thousands of others go through."
The dealership has promised Tiffany she will get the new car when it comes in, but with nothing in writing, she will wait until she sees it to smile.
Tiffany Thomas: "Well, right now it's just a promise. He did come through with the rental car."
Tiffany Thomas: "Like I told him, it sounds good, we just got to take it one day at a time and see what happens."
Patrick Fraser: "Now, you may be thinking, 'I signed all the paperwork to buy the car, how can it not be final?' Because while the contract lays out the cost and conditions of the deal it also says something to the effect of, 'If the financing doesn't go through, you must return the car.' That's why you don't accept the car until the financing is approved or contact your bank or credit union ahead of time and get the financing through them.
Patrick Fraser: "One final thing, get a big cup of coffee and read every word of the contract before you sign anything. That will help you avoid surprises like Tiffany got."
Financial flare-ups fouling your life? Want to contract with someone to resolve it? Drive it over to us. Our only interest is finding a solution for you.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
CONTACT: helpmehoward@wsvn (please include your contact number when emailing)