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chooseChoosing a Vehicle

Refer to resources such as Consumer Reports for information on the safety, performance, and durability of cars that you are considering.

Other sources, such as the Kelly Blue Book Official Used Car Guide or NADA Used car guide (see used car links on Pacific Motors home page) can assist you in researching the price of the cars. Some surveys indicate that consumers who carefully research the price of cars pay an average of 5% less than consumers who have not.

Many people consider shopping for a
new car to be a daunting experience. Consumers need to become well informed prior to making this important purchase, which is often the second most expensive purchase that most consumers make after their home.

In addition, the more information you have, the less likely that you will be pressured into making a hasty decision by a salesperson.

The following tips are suggested to assist you in "doing your homework" on both the auto manufacturer, the dealer, and the new car.

Choosing A Dealer

Review auto advertisements and visit a number of
dealerships. Compare models and prices in the advertisements and at the dealerships. It is important to deal with a reputable dealer.


Make sure all verbal promises are included in your written contract.

Don't give in to high-pressure sales tactics. Be wary of "special" or "one-day only" deals. If you sense that you're being hurried or manipulated into a deal, don't be afraid to walk out of the dealership.

Take your time to read the contract. If necessary take the unsigned contract with you and read it over in the quiet of your own home.

Be certain the serial number of a car you are purchasing is the same as the number on your contract.


If you are considering trading in your current vehicle, remember that a discount in the selling price of the new vehicle is sometimes off-set by an under-valuation of your trade-in or by charging a higher interest rate.

Shop the value of your trade-in with other dealers. Check web sites or publications such as the
Kelly Blue Book Official Used Car Guide, NADA used car guide or suggested retail and trade-in values of your trade. (For used car guides see links on Pacific Motors home page)


It is important to shop around for the financing just as you did for the car itself. Compare the interest rate offered through the dealership with the rate you can obtain on your own.

Dealers may sometimes make more profit on the financing than they do on the car itself. Negotiate the finance charges.

Special advertised rates by the manufacturer's financial institutions may be great deals, but it is always worthwhile to compare the rates with your bank or other credit institutions.

Understand that if you have credit problems, you may not be eligible for the low cost financing that is advertised. Make sure that you are not paying an exorbitant price for financing.

Look out for a balloon payment, which is a large payment that becomes due at the of the finance agreement. You should always know the amount that you are paying for the car, and not just the monthly payments.


Many consumers mistakenly believe that the law entitles them to a refund of their deposit if they decide not to buy a car. However, there is no right to cancel a contract. However, if the dealer assists you in arranging for financing and you have not picked up the vehicle, you may cancel at any time prior to signing a finance agreement and receive a full refund.

There are several terms that you should be familiar with before you go to negotiate the purchase of a new car:

Manufacturer's suggested retail price ("MSRP") is the sale price recommended by the manufacturer. The MSRP is only a point of reference, and is a figure from which consumers can negotiate. In fact, in the overwhelming majority of cases, new cars are not sold at the MSRP.

Invoice price- is the manufacturer's initial charge to the dealer. This usually is higher than the dealer's final cost because the dealers receive rebates, allowances, discounts, and incentive awards. Thus, the Attorney General objects to its use in auto advertising because many consumers think that it reflects the dealers' actual costs. In general, the invoice price should include freight which may also be reflected as destination fees or delivery charges.

Extended Warranties or Service Contracts -Dealers may offer an extended warranty or service contract for an additional cost. Extended warranties, however, are expensive. It is one of the most profitable aspects of car sales. If you are interested in a service contract, remember that cost and coverage vary greatly and may be subject to negotiation. A copy of the terms and conditions of the service contract must be provided by the dealership. You are entitled to a full refund, less any claims paid, within twenty days of the mailing of the service contract or within ten days if the contract is delivered at the time of sale. Typically, consumers are better off dealing with a nationally known service contract company. Providers of service contracts or extended warranties must be registered with the YOUR State Insurance Department.

New Car Lemon Law

Lemon Law protects most NEW motor vehicles primarily used for personal purposes and sold or registered in YOUR State.

You are protected against all material defects for 18,000 miles or two years, whichever comes first. (Check your state to see the specific protection. You must be the original purchaser, lessee or person whom the vehicle was transferred during the warrantee period.

If you experience problems, you must report them to the manufacturer or authorized dealer who must correct them free of charge. If the same problem cannot be repaired after four or more attempts, or if the car is out of service for 30 or more days, you may be entitled to a new car or refund. Refunds are for the purchase price, and license and registration fees, minus a mileage allowance if mileage on the car is over 12,000 miles. Again, check your state for your exact protection plan.

To enforce the law, you may sue the manufacturer or participate in an approved arbitration program. Your Attorney General's Office offers an arbitration program upon payment of a filing fee. While the program is open to all car models, it only accepts lemon law replacement or buy-back requests. For more information, contact YOUR Attorney General's Office, ask for a free copy of the New Car Lemon Law Booklet.


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