If I purchased a used car from a reputable dealer and they raised the financing rate that was agreed upon, what are my rights?

They offered me 3.99% APR financing and all papers were signed that way. However, they called me today (a day later) to tell me they are going to charge me 10%, not 3.99%. Can they do that after papers have all been signed? Is there anything I can do?

Asked on September 26, 2011 under General Practice, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Contracts are enforceable as per their terms: if the  contract of sale specified a certain interest rate, that rate is enforceable and the dealer may not thereafter change it. You need to check the contract and any other documentation carefully, though--you need to see if it had any disclaimers or qualifications which would legally let the dealer alter the rate (for example, if it said "3.99% APR to qualifying customers," that could give them an out--if you did not meet the criteria for a 3.99% rate, they could off you a different rate).

However, if the contract is firm, it is enforceable, and you could bring a legal action to do so, and possibly to collect other damages, too (e.g. it may be the the dealer has committed consumer fraud, which would entitle you to additional compensation). You should first check the contract; and if you think that the dealer breached it's plain terms, you should speak with an attorney to explore your options further.

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