Even after you think you bought a car, dealerships can 'yo-yo' you and take it back

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2023-02-07 15:00:20

If you've ever bought a car, you know the feeling when you've signed all the paperwork, driven off the lot, and think, "Wow, this is my car now."

Johnson had just had a baby when she and her husband, Darren, decided to buy a newer, safer car for the family. They live in a rural area outside Orlando, Fla. He's a fire sprinkler inspector; she's stopped working to raise the kids. And they bought a little used Hyundai SUV.

"I received a phone call from the finance manager of the dealership," Darren Johnson says. The manager told them the financing for the car had fallen through and if the couple wanted to keep it, they had to come back and sign a contract with different terms.

"I was kind of confused," Johnson says. "I thought this was a legally binding contract. ... We've had this vehicle at home. What do you mean it's not financed?"

Most of us would be confused too. But odds are good that in the paperwork you signed when you bought your own car, there was some legal language saying the sale may not really be final. It often asserts that if the car dealer has trouble with the financing on its end after the sale, it can later cancel the deal, try to get you to agree to different terms, and take the car back if you refuse.

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