FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 5, 2017
Contact: James Hallinan (505) 660-2216
Albuquerque, NM – The week of March 5, 2017 is National Consumer Protection Week. As part of his work to protect New Mexico families, Attorney General Hector Balderas announced “The ABC’s of Consumer Protection.” Every day this week, the Office of the Attorney General will be releasing information and tips to help consumers.
“Knowledge is power and this National Consumer Protection Week I am challenging New Mexicans to learn more about the laws that protect them from unfair business practices,” said Attorney General Balderas. “Being an informed consumer will help you protect your family and finances.”
Today’s topic is A is for Autos. Consumers shop for automobiles with their hearts as well as their heads, and that can be somewhat dangerous. The Office of The Attorney General’s Consumer and Environmental Protection Division and Constituent and Family Advocacy Services Division work to protect consumers from fraud and unfair business practices by educating consumers with the law and their rights. Government agencies can’t always protect consumers from unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices, therefore, it’s important for consumers to gain a better understanding of the law. Consumers play a very important role in stopping unfair business practices; arm yourself with information.
Looking to buy a Car? Plan ahead.
- Know your finance options. Knowing what you can afford before you go shopping can prevent you from getting in over your head.
- A good rule of thumb: Your car payment should not exceed 15% of your take-home pay.
- Get the book value for your trade in vehicle in order to maximize the value you receive.
- Do your research to determine which vehicle is right for you. Doing research ahead of time will help you in making an informed decision on purchasing your ideal vehicle and help avoid costly surprises later. Ask your dealer about year, make, and model of the vehicle and consider additional costs or add-ons to the contract.
- Ask about the total cost of the loan—that is the total amount you will pay over the life ofthe loan. Don’t just focus on whether the monthly payment is affordable. Often times a small increase in monthly payment can mean a significant amount added to the total cost. Also consider insurance, maintenance, and fuel expense when determining your vehicle budget.
Protect yourself from scams and unfair deals.
- Make sure the financing is secure before you sign the contract and drive away with the vehicle. Taking possession of the car before the loan is approved by the lender could put the deal, you thought you had, at risk.
- Ask if the car has any damage or has ever been in an accident.
- Make sure you are getting the deal you agreed to by taking your time in reviewing paperwork.
- Be sure all documents are filled in entirely and correctly.
- Ensure that you receive copies of all documents signed by you and the co-signer (if applicable).
- Don’t accept oral promises; always make sure representations are in writing & signed.
- ALWAYS get a receipt for your down payment.
- If you’re unsure, ask questions. Don’t ever sign a document you don’t understand!