What to do if I have a signed lease contract and a month afterwards the salesman called me saying I needed to pay $500 more?

UPDATED: Jun 25, 2012

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What to do if I have a signed lease contract and a month afterwards the salesman called me saying I needed to pay $500 more?

I owed $500 suppossedly because the refund from my extended warranty wasn’t enough, although it was through the same dealership who had all the records. I said “no”. He said he would tell his manager and someone would be contacting me. I heard nothing else about it, nor received any bill or notice from them. Then today, I get a call from a collection agency, saying I owed $546 for not paying the downpayment, and I better pay. Can they turn it over to collections without even notifying me, and can they change the contract like that?

Asked on June 25, 2012 under General Practice, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It depends on exactly what the lease said, but it may be legal. For example, say that the lease specified that you had to pay $1,000 down, of which you paid $500 and applied the balance from the refund to the rest. If, however, there was in fact no refund, then you would have been left owing $500 more--since the agreement said you'd put $1,000 down, but at the end of the day, you only put $500 down (since there was no money from the refund), you'd still owe the other $500.

You need to see exactly what  you were obligated to in the lease to see if the failure to get the extra $500 or so from the refund leaves you obligated for the rest. You are right in that the contract cannot be changed--but you need to make sure of what you actually had to do under the contract in order to determine your rights.

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