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What are your Rights when making purchases?

Updated on March 10, 2011

There is a right way and a wrong way to Buy

While having my coffee this morning and talking with my Dad on the phone, he reminded me of another thing that truly needs to be discussed. This is involving the purchase of ‘Big Ticket’ items, particularly when it involves salesmen. Your rights when making purchases are never discussed. It is up to you to know your rights.

Most people will tell you “Go to someone who is recommended by a friend”. That is all well and good, but not necessarily an end all solution. You must understand the Salesman is there to sell you something, resulting in his making a commission. Or in other words, his paycheck.

He may tell you anything he thinks you want to hear, to get you to sign the papers. I am here to tell you of your rights before signing. In order to do that I’m going to have to give you a couple of examples, first the WRONG way.

The WRONG way - Check your attitude

A few years go my husband and I were in need of a home. We believed we didn’t qualify for an actual house, so we settled for a mobile home. There is nothing wrong with living in a nice double wide mobile home, in fact they are quite nice. The mobile homes are sold very similar to cars in car lots. Now comes the salesman part.

Because of the attitude which we went in was ‘Desperate’, we were prime pickings for a crooked salesman. We needed a home and in a hurry, we needed to move in within 30 days. Because our credit wasn’t the greatest he decided we only qualified for ‘this one’. He explained that it had been setting in the lot for more than a year. It was still brand new, no one had lived in it, it was just last years model that hadn’t gotten sold.

Get it in writing!

There were a few things that needed repaired, which he promised to have done.  Right quick and in a hurry we accepted the price he quoted and had him get the paper work in motion.  He said he needed some money down, the only thing we had was our second car.  He used this as a trade in.  I didn’t want to get rid of the car, he wanted me to put a price on it.  To me the car was priceless, but he ended up MAKING IT LOOK LIKE I put down $200. 

The park we were moving it into was giving us $3500 to go towards our down payment.  When the home was set we would get our check from them.  So for all intents and purposes my home started out at $35,000 less $3700 the balance to be financed should have been $31,300.  Let’s just say, it didn’t work out that way.  Where is the difference?  Somewhere in numberville,  this is something to look for.  If it doesn’t make sense to you, don’t sign.  

Once everything is signed - They are done with you

All the paperwork was finalized and we signed.  The home was set I was told to sign the check list, that everything was complete, ‘Just procedure’, the guys were busy doing other things and would get to my problems ASAP.  As soon as the check came in I was told to sign the check so my salesman could pick it up, and get everything finalized.  This was told to me by the Salesman with whom I came to trust.  So I signed as I was instructed.  

None of the repairs were ever made.  The ‘finalized’?  His pay, he was done with me.  He avoided all my calls when I asked about the repairs.  He dodged me when I went to see him. 


He Got the Promises in Writing

A few years later My Dad was buying a new Mobile Home to put on his lake property, a place he would eventually retire in.

He went to another lot, was shown a model and explained that ‘this particular model could come with changes if he required’.  Up grade in carpeting etc..  My Dad stated the things he wanted.  Upgraded carpet, Gas water heater, Shutters on the back window, a window in the back door etc.  The Salesman agreed, all those things could be done.

So Dad went home, typed out his list of ‘demands’, made 2 copies, took them back and had the Salesman sign both.  


Dad was only financing half of this home, he had made a sizable down payment.  At the time of the signing, the representative from the bank was there.   With the banking paperwork out of the way, the salesman slid over some other paperwork for my Dad to sign, saying it was ‘just routine’ paperwork.  

My Dad, being nobody’s fool, knowing also what we had went through, said that he was going to read it before signing.  The paperwork for him to initial and sign was stating that he was satisfied with the delivery and set up of the home, and just that he was happy with his purchase.  

Since the home had not been delivered or set up, how could he be happy with it?  The Salesman insisted that he ‘just sign it’, it was part of the process.  My Dad then asked the bank representative if he was required to do so.  She said ‘Absolutely Not!’

Keep them to their word!

The home was delivered, the drivers were prepared to cut down trees to set the home. My husband had insisted on being there (he had set Mobile Homes in Florida) thank goodness he was there! One of the trees belonged to a neighbor and he would have been mighty unhappy.

The Salesman was even there with the paperwork in hand. As soon as the 2 halves were set he wanted my Dad to sign. My Dad then explained to him "I haven’t had the chance to look everything over”. So in the house Dad went. The only thing that was on the list was the upgraded carpeting. Nothing else on the list was present.

The Salesman tried getting my Dad to sign. He said “I’m not going to sign, where is the Gas water heater?” “Where is the shutters” “This is not the right door”. The Salesman said those would be coming. Dad stated at that time “When you fulfill your promise, then I will sign”.

After 2 months - It was complete

There were a lot of phone calls from the salesman claiming that my Dad was holding his money hostage. My Dad calmly told him, when you fulfill your end of the bargain, I will sign. It took about 2 months, but finally the promised things were in place. The only thing my Dad let slide was the door. That was never replaced.

What was the issue? Until my Dad signed the ‘routine’ paperwork, the Salesman could not receive his pay. It is guaranteed that had my Dad signed, the promises made would not have been kept. This is a clear case of the ‘Buyer being Aware’.

Imagine what would have happened if my Dad would have signed the 'just routine paperwork' without reading. The things promised would never have happened. My Dad would have had to spend 'out of pocket' money to get what was promised to him.

What are your rights?







Ignorance is no excuse

Keep in mind that if you sign these things and are not satisfied you WILL LOSE YOUR RIGHTS. Once you sign, it’s done, your rights are gone. You do not have a leg to stand on. A Court of law does not recognize ignorance of the law. It is up to you to know your rights.  Saying "I didn't know' is not going to impress the Judge.

Let's all work together to help get salesmen back on the honest side of the tracks.

1 More tidbit of information

There is one more little tidbit of information you may not know.  From time to time you may come across the salesman who will give the appearance of not caring whether you buy from him or not.  He may say to you ’If you don’t buy it someone else will’ or ’I still get a paycheck even if you don’t buy’.  This may be true.  Someone else may come along, but he will have to wait for that someone.  The paycheck?  Some salesman get paid minimum wage for sitting there at the office.  So yes, they REALLY do want to sell you something, but are using reverse psychology on you.



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    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks speedbird! I'm so glad you stopped by to read!

    • speedbird profile image

      speedbird 6 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      As always you come up with great pieces of work. Thanks for informing the masses on their rights when making a purchase, many people take this things for granted. ' Ignorance is no defense' I agree with you absolutely on this one. voted UP and rated USEFUL

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

      LOL - I LOVE that title you have given me!!!

      It's always better to be aware of what your getting into and to help avoid the pitfalls that can and a lot of the time does happen.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

    • Chatkath profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from California

      Thank you always being the on-the-job consumer advocate we can trust here on the Hub! Most of us have been in or know someone in a similar situation, angry and helpless with no where to turn. Awareness is the first step, thanks for your informative suggestions!

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

      Most people don't know professionals when it comes to making purchases such as cars and mobile homes. The sad fact is there are a number of factors that happen when making purchases such as these, credit (or lack there of), necessity (I need a place to live NOW) and no one to help them through the process. Any one of those things for the most part will cause the unwary to be taken advantage of.

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 6 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      Sage advice for anyone sweetsusieg. It is always good practice to have a professional, an expert take a look at any big ticket item from top to bottom and then make sure that the sale is conditional based upon any necessary repairs.

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

      Thank you!!

    • mslizzee profile image

      elizabeth 6 years ago from Buncombe County, NC

      This is wonderful advice. Thank you.

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

      For corn's sake someone hand me a pin!! My head's gonna get all swollen!! Oh man... see? Now you know why I need an Agent! All these good ideas and no 'know how' to put them to good use!

      Maybe I should research that!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      If you have a neighborhood newspaper, susie, that might be a great idea. Ask if they would like to have you write a column on the pitfalls of buying big ticket items or used cars.

      You could become famous as the Homespun Columnist of the paper.

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

      Hmmm, I never thought of that! Wonder how I could approach it? What good idea!

      It seems as thought I'm always learning the hard way... Maybe I was destined to mess up, so I could be a writer! I should write a book! LOL

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • profile image

      Sharon 6 years ago

      Thanks for the HEADS UP. Lot's of people don't follow thru & surely get ripped off. Maybe you should write an editorial for the local paper. You would definitely hit a wider circle of people. I KNOW many would appreciate your honesty. Unfortunately, you had to learn the hard way but many can gain valuable knowledge from you!! =)