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 the purchase or lease of a 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 the purchase of a used car in Spanish. Since 1985, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has required that a disclosure form known as the Buyers Guide be posted in the window of every used car offered by a licensed dealer to the public.

 

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