A mum maintains she can no longer afford to pay for her new vehicle after a garage neglected to tell her about a mountainous £6,900 balloon payment.
Jillie Stross bought her Dacia Duster SE Twenty from Wessex Garages in Newport, Wales last month because she needed more space to fit in her mobility scooter.
The pub proprietress has arthritis and needs the scooter to help her to look after her children, including her 12-year-old autistic son.
Jillie, who manages a pub in Merthyr, originally thought she was just taking a test drive but only realised afterwards that she was buying the vehicle.
After agreeing to pay £198 per month, she maintains she was not told about a further balloon payment at the end of the deal until it was too late.
Jillie said she was asked by the rep how did £198 per month sound?
She thought it was a tad more than she wanted to spend but it was fine, and she was told when she went into the office that because of the COVID 19 they couldn’t go through paperwork and was asked to sign electronically.
She said that she believed she was signing up for a test drive at the time and only realised afterwards she was actually buying the vehicle.
Jillie said she went through with the purchase as she needed a vehicle which could comfortably fit her mobility scooter.
On July 28, she picked up the Dacia Duster and rode home but something didn’t seem right, so she rang them up about 48 hours later and asked if it was really £198 per month and they said yes, and then hesitated and said, and the balloon payment.
Two reps then told her that their co-worker would have notified her about the balloon payment, and she added they were both saying the other would have told her about it when she was buying it, but no one did.
Jillie was left aghast when she found out that the balloon payment needed at the end would be £6,900.
She said that she’s been onto both the finance company and the dealer and was told there was nothing wrong, that she’d signed the papers and agreed to everything.
She informed them that they said she couldn’t go through the actual paperwork due to COVID 19 and so she never actually saw it before signing and that she was never even shown the screen at the time or anything.
Now she feels like a fool and she’s kicking herself for not insisting on seeing it at the time, but she trusted them and she believes that she was deceived and that they were using COVID 19 to make a sale.
However, whether she rushed into her agreement or she signed for something she wasn’t supposed to, she should be able to cancel her car finance agreement for up to 14 days after she signed on the dotted line, this is known as the cooling-off period, and she should have been informed of this, but probably wasn’t.
Okay so the lady wasn’t very bright, and perhaps you can’t sign the paperwork, so what they should have done was send it to her to read and sign, and how did she get confused between a test drive and a purchase?
Usually, you would go to the showroom, pick a vehicle and then ask if you could take it on a test drive before anything else. There should be no paper signing to take a car for a test drive because the rep usually goes with you.
Test driving a car is an essential part of the buying process, but it’s easy to go wrong.
Once you’ve settled on the make and model of the car you want to buy, an important step in the purchasing process is taking one for a test drive but it’s pretty easy during the excitement of a test drive to sideline some useful aspects of the experience and you might end up overlooking some of its shortcomings.
Couple this with adroit salespeople trying to convince you the vehicle you’re driving is the ideal one for you, and a test drive can become an overwhelming exercise.
Most importantly, remember that you’re in control because buying a car is the second most costly purchase most of us will ever make in our lifetime, so it’s essential to be content with what you buy, and as long as you haven’t paid anything towards the car, you’re free to walk away at any time.
Test drives can operate in various ways. At some dealerships an employee there will accompany you when you drive the vehicle you’re thinking of purchasing. Other places may allow you to go out alone in the car, or you might even do a mixture of both.
A balloon payment is a lump sum settled at the end of the term of the loan that is significantly greater than all of the payments made before it.
On instalment loans without a balloon option, a set of fixed payment are made to pay down the loan’s balance.
Balloon payments enable borrowers to reduce that fixed payment amount in exchange for making a more substantial payment at the end of the loan’s term and Jillie Stross should have been told this because in general, these loans are good for borrowers who have excellent credit and a substantial income.
She could, of course, sell the vehicle before the balloon payment is due, but that’s precarious because a car is a depreciating asset or she could take out another loan to pay off the balloon payment, but by that time, she will probably owe more than the car is worth.