SANTA MONICA, Calif. — As car shoppers rush to land a good holiday deal this month, Edmunds.com, the premier resource for car shopping and automotive information, advises all buyers to take a moment to carefully review their sales contracts before they sign on the dotted line. And while the contract can appear to be an overwhelming jumble of numbers and fine print, Edmunds.com identifies the key elements that every car buyer should look for in its new article at http://www.edmunds.com/car-
“The contract isn’t quite as complicated as it looks, and in fact it’s actually a standard form that is the same at all dealerships in most states,” says Edmunds.com Sr. Consumer Advice Editor Philip Reed. “So it’s not so much the language in the document that should concern you. Instead, it is the numbers in the little boxes that you need to review carefully.”
Those numbers, says Edmunds.com, should always match the numbers and terms negotiated with the dealer. To avoid any confusion, Edmunds.com recommends that buyers establish the “out-the-door” price – which includes any taxes and fees – before they review the contract. This can be accomplished by obtaining the dealer’s “worksheet,” which will list all the figures that go into the final contract.
Depending on the type of transaction (cash, finance or lease), those “out-the-door” numbers should match up to the various elements of the deal in the final contract. Those elements include:
Cash Sale – Purchase price of the car, sales tax, registration fees, documentation fee for preparing the contract, customer cash rebate (if applicable) and value of trade-in (if applicable)
Financed Sale – Everything listed above, plus down payment, interest rate, amount financed and the length – or term – of the loan
Lease Contract – Cost of the car (aka “capitalized cost’), drive-off payment, allowed mileage, term of the lease and the residual value (i.e. the car’s projected value at the end of the lease term). More information is available in Edmunds.com’s “10 Steps to Leasing a New Car.”
Only when the numbers match should the buyer sign the contract. If buyers find additional fees in the final contract, they should take the time to learn why those fees are added on, and in the rare case where they suspect bogus fees have been added, they should not be afraid to walk away from the deal. Edmunds.com sorts out the fees that car buyers can expect at http://www.edmunds.com/car-
For more information on what key elements to look for in a new car contract, please visit http://www.edmunds.com/car-
About Edmunds.com, Inc.
At Edmunds.com, we’re committed to helping people find the car that meets their every need. Almost 18 million visitors use our research, shopping and buying tools every month to make an easy and informed decision on their next new or used car. Whether you’re at the dealership or on the go, we’re always by your side with our five-star Edmunds.com iPhone and iPad apps and our Edmunds.com Android App. Our comprehensive car reviews, shopping tips, photos, videos and feature stories offer a friendly and authentic approach to the automotive world. We’re based in Santa Monica, Calif., but you can connect with us from anywhere by following @Edmunds on Twitter or by becoming a fan of Edmunds.com on Facebook.