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delivery of your car

Spot Deliveries: When it comes to delivery of your car, the very first thing you need to be aware of, and know how to deal with, is the "Spot Delivery." A spot delivery is when you take delivery of the car as soon as you have committed to buy it. The purpose of "spotting" a customer is simple: if you sign the papers and take delivery, the car is yours. If you change your mind the next morning when you wake up and see the car in your driveway, it's too late. Dealers consider spot deliveries the best defense against buyer's remorse because by the time the buyer has a chance for any remorse, they already own the car. Some dealerships may not offer spot delivery, which is to your advantage. Others will practically insist on it. DON'T DO IT. The salesperson will make it seem that taking immediate delivery is the most natural thing in the world, and for some car buyers, perhaps it is. It is much better, though, to protect yourself and take delivery of the car the next day, than to lock yourself into a commitment that you may not be able to undo. Unraveling a deal after you have taken delivery, even if it is within hours (or minutes) of buying the car, can be a nightmare. There is a good possibility that the deal cannot be undone, depending on the attitude of the dealership. Be aware that if you take delivery and sign the contracts, you will be considered by most or all courts to have closed the deal. Giving yourself a cooling off period, even if it is only for a day, will not only release a lot of the tension associated with buying a car, it will give you an escape hatch if you determine that you simply cannot live with the car or the deal.

Regular Delivery: If you are going to pick up the car some time after you have made the deal, set an exact time for delivery with the salesperson. Complete any final financing details. Notify your insurance agent that you will need coverage transferred. When you arrive at the dealership, make sure that anything that was promised has been done to the car. Examine the car closely. Reporting a dent on the fender a week after you have taken delivery gives you little chance that the dealership will handle it, but if you note it immediately, they will have no choice but to repair it.

New Car Delivery Checklist

  • Check the operation of all equipment--especially any items that the dealer may have added.
  • Check for dents, scratches or mismatched paint. Even brand new cars can have paint defects.
  • Check the interior--fabric, carpeting and make sure that you look up at the headliner.
  • Make sure that the owners manual, service schedule, and warranty book are with the car.
  • Review procedures for the service department--how appointments are handled and who to contact if you need service.
  • Check over all of the financial papers and the sales contract. Make sure that they match the figures that you and the dealership agreed on. Confirm that no additional items (and costs) have been added.
  • Have you switched your insurance?

If anything is not right, either get it fixed on the spot or, if that is not possible, get it in writing and signed by a manager. If considerable additional work is needed, leave the car without signing any contracts or financing papers. If you need transportation (for example, if you have already sold your old car) insist that the dealership gives you a loaner car while the work is done to yours.

Don't forget to get a handle on your
long-term ownership costs!

Used Car Delivery Checklist

  • Is the car in the same condition (or hopefully, in better condition) than when you agreed to purchase it?
  • Take the car for a ride. Test everything, particularly items that will not be covered by the warranty.
  • Are all repairs agreed to done to your satisfaction?
  • Is there an owners manual with the car? If it is not available, have the dealership secure a new one for you (have them take it out of another car of the same year, make and model, if available). Have them order you one if it is not immediately available.
  • Do you have warranty information--whether it is balance of the factory, a dealer backed or an extended warranty?
  • Review procedures for the service department--how appointments are handled and who to contact if you need service.
  • Check over all of the financial papers and the sales contract. Make sure that they match the figures that you and the dealership agreed on. Confirm that no additional items (and costs) have been added.
  • Have you switched your insurance?

Problems? See "if anything is not right" above.

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