Help Desk FAQ

Automobiles

 

Can I ask for a copy of my auto purchase contract in Spanish?

If you live in California, yes. Under California law, when you negotiate the contract for a purchase or lease of your car primarily in Spanish, the dealer MUST give you a translation of that contract and any other riders or addendums that modify the contract, whether you request it or not. If the dealer fails to give you a translation BEFORE you sign the contract, they are breaking the law. If this happens, you have the right to cancel the contract (even if you have already been assigned to a financial institution for a car loan), return the vehicle and obtain a full refund of any amount you paid.

This law, however, does not apply when you negotiate the contract in English and/or when you are assisted by an interpreter who can fully understand both languages. The interpreter must not be a minor and must not have been made available through the dealer. Any documents that substantively modify the original contract - such as a repossession notice - must be given in Spanish. If the English contract and the Spanish translation differ considerably, the contract may be void.

Under federal law, you are also entitled to obtain a Spanish-language version of the "Buyers Guide" if you negotiate in Spanish. Since 1985, the Federal Trade Commission has required that a disclosure form called a Buyers Guide be posted in the window of every used car offered by a licensed dealer to the public.

 

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