RACV member Jessica Carter was so committed to buying a car to get to work every day that she signed with the car dealer for a loan on the spot.
Before going to the car dealership to buy the vehicle, Jessica, 20, had called RACV to discuss what kind of plan and payments she should expect.
But during her time at the dealership, she became so confused and felt so pressured that she walked away from the dealership with a loan that was $6673 above the negotiated price for the car and with a repayment plan two years longer than RACV had quoted.
But then it got worse. The dealership said it would check her loan eligibility for her, but she didn’t realise that the dealership would, by assisting her take out the loan, charge her a $770 fee.
It wasn’t until Jessica had signed the paperwork and returned home, that she realised she had signed up for a loan that was significantly higher than the original negotiated price of $17,990. By this point Jessica was too perturbed to confront the dealership. “I was too scared to say anything.”
She felt the dealership had taken advantage of her unfamiliarity with buying a car and had signed her up to a number of expensive extras not discussed, such as gap cover insurance, warranty and loan protection insurance.
Jessica sought the advice of a lawyer friend who advised her to refinance the loan and to minimise any future dealings with the dealership.
She refinanced the loan through RACV and now has a shorter loan term and smaller repayments. Jessica was distressed by her ordeal and dreads making future purchases. This was her first experience in buying a car.
Jessica has also discovered issues with the car that were not mentioned during the purchasing process, “the stereo buttons are unreliable, the electronics are faulty, the arm rest collapsed and there are chips in the tint”.
Jessica had done her research and had informed herself of the standards of car buying. Yet, she was overwhelmed by a dealership that failed to give her clear information and act in her best interests during the transaction.
Jessica’s advice for people in her situation is “do your research,” and “when you go to buy a car, take someone who really knows what they are doing”.
Taking the time to fully understand what you expect to receive and what you are required to give is crucial to car buying.
Jessica saved up to $11,500 in total loan repayments and will repay her loan in 60 months rather than the dealership’s original 84-month loan period.