Public Roundtables: Protecting Consumers in the Sale and Leasing of Motor Vehicles, Project No. P104811
As a former auto salesman, my customers often faced a finance officer who would indicate that they qualified for a specific rate, based on their credit score, that was higher than what they were entitled to. This process meant higher profits for the finance officer, but left the customer with higher payment terms than they were entitled to. As the salesperson and advocate for my customer I would educate them prior to going to financing by asking them to talk to their bank and credit union about the rates they could get...and telling them that "we" would have to meet them or beat them to earn their business. The result was that I was yelled at by my finance director every single week, for "ruining" their numbers. The same is true for maintenance plans, gap insurance, tire and wheel insurance, aftermarket sales, etc. Being honest in the car business is what drove me away after 8 years. My recommendation is that dealers be required to show all documents that they base their interest rates on to the customer, including credit reports, approvals from manufacturers or other financing entities who finance the sale of the specific vehicle, and allow the customer to retain copies of those documents for their own use...including action against offending dealers in legal actions if necessary. A checklist with the customers signature should be required explaining the interest rate and that the customer has seen these documents prior to signing the contract should be required. The document would be protection for the dealer and the customer when conflicts arose.