Wednesday

The Next BIG Fraud Device?

Watch out! The next big fraud is one you don't see coming. It's a convenience that sounds easy but it can cost you thousands of dollars when you buy your next car or truck - before you even know it has happened to you.

Easy signing, easy stealing
Many car dealers and other merchants are now using electronic signature pads. Those are the little devices about the size of a paperback book or smaller, where they have you sign on the dotted line and it puts your signature on their contract or sale documents.

Easy, huh? Convenient, huh? Yeah, but a very slick way to steal your signature and put it on any kind of document or contract or other agreement that they want - and they insist that you knew and consented to it - after all, that really is your signature, right? Yeah, right ...

We have seen a sudden rash of electronic document signing taking place at one Miami Valley car dealership chain used in a clever way that costs customers thousands of dollars in unseen and unauthorized charges on top of their car purchase that the customer doesn't even see happening to them.

When you sign the pad, the dealer says it makes it easier for them to print out the documents for you --- yeah, right. Then they pack into the sales papers extra stuff you didn't know about and add it to the sale price of the car or truck you are buying.

Stuff like rustproofing for an extra (and hefty) $1,249. Or the "etch theft guard" that they sometimes call "Security Coding" for an extra $299. Or how about that "Dent Protection" for another $299? Or maybe the mysterious "Personal Assistant" (whatever that is) for another $299? How about some "GAP" for $900 or "Easycare" (which is really their extended warranty without telling you what it is) for a really hefty $2,795?

And all that stuff means you pay more sales tax too. And when you let them finance the car loan for you, it means you pay more in interest charges too. We have seen some contracts where an extra $4,000 to $7,000 is piled on top of the price. And it gets even worse if you lease the vehicle because you can't see where the extra charges are buried into the vehicle's "capitalized cost" because they aren't itemized on your lease at all.

Use a real pen on real paper
Always insist on signing with an ink pen put to paper. Don't trust someone else's computer. After all, if they don't put your name on extra charges in your deal, they can still steal the electronic signature and forge it later on something else. And heaven help you if that car finance salesman copies it to the memory stick in his pocket and takes it home, along with a copy of your credit application too.

Don't trust any car dealer who wants you to use an electronic signature pad. It's the surest way to rip you off without you seeing it happening. You may never know it happened. And if you do figure it out, it may already be too late.

But if it happens to you, in Fairborn or Miamisburg or Beavercreek, in Columbus or anywhere else in Ohio, call us. If it happens to you at a Chevrolet dealer, a Nissan dealer, a Mazda dealer, a GMC dealer, or a Mitsubishi or any other car dealer, call us. Car Sales Fraud is what we call it. And we go after the car dealer to get your money back. It's what we do. And with electronic signature pads being used more and more often by car dealers, we are finding more and more car sales fraud practices at dishonest car dealerships.

Burdge Law Office
Because you work too hard for your money,
to let a car dealer cheat you out of it.