Review the car purchase contract before signing

Rose Chan, consumer advice coordinator at Consumer Action, advised consumers to study car purchase contract carefully before signing it.
Published: Monday, February 29, 2016

Contracts without translation

In California, there is a piece of legislation helpful for ethnic communities: the Foreign Language Translation of Consumer Contracts. Under it, a person in a trade or business, who negotiates a contract primarily in Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog/Filipino, Vietnamese, or Korean, “must give the consumer a written translation of the proposed contract in the language of the negotiations.”

“A common type of scam is buying a car. The negotiations are done in Chinese. They push the client to sign the contract very fast and you don't have time to review it. So a lot of times they slip in extra services you didn't agree to, or set a higher price for the car than the (amount) you agreed to pay,” said Rose Chan, consumer advice coordinator at Consumer Action.

Steven Shi, who migrated from China 20 years ago, was a victim of such fraud. Last October, he went to a Toyota dealer in Sunnyvale, Calif., intending to purchase a Prius. The sales representative persuaded him to buy the car by paying in installments, and to purchase a $1,750 dollar extended warranty that would include an “anti-theft system on my new car.” However, Steve was later charged an additional $800 for that “gift.” When he complained, the dealer offered to return the money in five years. 

“I asked help from the Sunnyvale Consumer Council, and they helped me to recover the money… It was an unpleasant experience,” Shi said.

The above excerpt was taken from




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