Bloomberg News is reporting that the U.S. Department of Transportation is advising consumers taking advantage of the "Cash for Clunkers" program not to sign contingency agreements promising to pay back up to $4,500 if dealers don’t receive payment from the government.
No contingency agreement is required to participate, the Transportation Department, which administers the $3 billion Car Allowance Rebate System, is reported to have said on its Web site.
To enable its dealers to get more money out of consumers, the Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association apparently posted a form on its Web site that car dealers can use to make new car buyers reimburse the dealership the incentive amount if the dealer is unable to obtain the credit from the government "for any reason." The consumer can also return the car to the dealership and pay "a reasonable charge" for use of the new vehicle, according to the form.
Consumers signing the agreement also acknowledge their trade-in vehicle may have been destroyed and can’t be returned. The result? You sign and you're stuck. You give them back the new car and get zippo in return.
Be careful with this Cash for Clunkers program. We are hearing stories of car dealers getting consumers to sign everything and then calling the consumer up days later and saying their trade in wasn't "approved" for the program and now the consumer has to either come up with more cash or return the new car and (surprise, surprise) the consumer's trade in is already been sent off to the crusher and can't be returned.
The whole thing reminds us of the spot delivery yo-yo "your financing wasn't approved" rip off scam where the only thing that really wasn't approved was the amount of greed running rampant at the dealership.
The simple fact is that if the car dealer does it right, they should know immediately whether or not you will get approval and a credit. So don't trust any car dealer who calls you back and wants more money down, no matter what the excuse.
If you think you're the victim of a Cash for Clunkers rip off, call us. We help consumer protect themselves every day. It's what we do.
Burdge Law Office
Because someone needs to be on your, side for a change.