Depending on the size and practices of the dealership, you may work with one or more people. A salesperson will show you vehicles and answer your questions about features and options. This focus on the vehicles that meet your needs and your budget is known as qualifying a customer. If you’re buying a used vehicle, this is the time to ask for the vehicle history reports and the mechanical inspections for the vehicles that interest you.
While negotiating the price and terms for the specific vehicle you’ve selected, remember that everything in a vehicle transaction is negotiable, with the exception of taxes. Dealer fees should be discussed as part of the price, if they were not already clear from the advertising. Some dealers will use a Worksheet or an Offer to Purchase to discuss terms and prices. The purchase offer should include all the items that are part of the total transaction, not just the price you’re willing to pay. If you are asked to make a deposit, be sure the terms of the deposit are noted in writing. You should agree to the final price and terms before going forward or taking the vehicle home.
Often done in the Business Office, the purchase or sale agreement, tax and transfer forms will be completed. You may be offered products such as warranties, protection packages and insurance products, like security etching. You must approve these purchases to be charged for them. The motor dealer must give you a copy of the sale or purchase agreement at the time the agreement is accepted. Be sure to keep a copy of the agreement in your records.
Review every section of this document, including the back, and have the dealership representative fill in all areas or put a line through them. Don’t take the signing of this document lightly. Have terms you do not understand explained to you. Once it’s signed, the dealer can accept it, binding you to buying the vehicle. Unlike a lease, there is no return or cooling-off period for the purchase or financing of a vehicle.
A written sales agreement for new and used vehicles must include: