Sonja Bartlowe is a single mom with two little girls and no child support who worked as a branch manager for a home care provider. Last May she traded in a vehicle and bought a 2016 Nissan Titan pickup truck priced at $39,000 from Red Rock Nissan, at least that’s what it was priced online.
Little did she know what she was in for.
During the closing of the sale, she gave the financial manager her digital signature on an IPad, except for one document she signed with a pen. Like others who patronized Red Rock, she was never shown her contract while at the dealership, even after it was signed, and was given her documents on a thumb drive.
Later, Sonja found out her payments on the truck were $763/month — a heavy lift for her financially, and far beyond the $500 she told the dealership she could afford. Making her payments has been a struggle. She’s had to rely more on credit cards to make ends meet, and that has tanked her credit score, making it even harder for her to provide for her family and get out of debt.
Sonja only saw her contract for the vehicle after it started having a slew of mechanical problems shortly after she bought it. She took it for an oil change that took 2 days. Within 5 days after that, her batteries went out and within 90 days of buying it the “check engine” light came on and she said the dealership wanted to keep it for 4 weeks “as a warranty procedure.” Finally, the turbo went out and she “had to print [the contract] off for my turbo warranty.”
It was then that she saw Red Rock had charged her $44,200 for the truck, far above the $39,000 it had been priced online. Sonja has witnesses to the $39,000 price, too, she says, who “saw it and are willing to go to court if they have to.” She also saw she had been charged $1,200 for “Resistall,” that she didn’t know about, and was charged $3,750 for an extended warranty that was supposed to cost her $3,000.
Then finally, after hearing about Red Rock’s forgery problem, she took closer look at the contracts only to find that the signatures on them were not hers.
Sonja provided other examples of her real signature for comparison, and says she always signs her signature the same way:
Below is the contract for the purchase of her vehicle. The “Buyer’s” signature appears far different than her real signature:
Here is the signature on her contract for “Worry-Free Maintenance”:
…and the “Purchaser” signature on her Disclosures form:
Below are close-ups of Sonja’s real signature and the one on her purchase contract:
If you believe you have been a victim of forgery or had extra charges added to your vehicle purchase contract without being told or giving permission, fill out a complaint to the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Auto Industry Division at this link. Follow the instructions and have photos of your documents ready to upload as evidence.
If you believe you have been the victim of a financial crime, including falsification of your signature on a legal contract while transacting business within the City of Grand Junction, fill out a Grand Junction Police Department Fraud Packet, available at this link (pdf), and follow the instructions on the packet to report the crime to the GJPD.
Forgery of a signature, if done with intent to deceive, is a serious crime in Colorado.
Also, if any of this happened to you, contact your lender and tell them you want to see all of the information the dealership submitted to them about you for your loan on the vehicle. Carefully check what you get back to see if the salary information and description the dealership provided to the lender for the vehicle you bought is accurate. Flag anything that is not accurate, for examples incorrect salary and features the vehicle doesn’t actually have, or an incorrect trim level. Check your sale documents to see if the “Buyer” and “Purchaser” signatures match your real signature or not.
If you find something wrong, gather all your contracts, invoices, agreements, credit applications and any other paperwork, and in addition to reporting it to the above enforcement agencies, contact the dealership owners and tell them you need help. Have in mind what you’d want them to do for you to feel okay given the deceptions that you encountered in the course of making your purchase, and the financial trouble the deal may have gotten you into. Giving the dealerships a chance to fix the situation may be your best bet to quickly get out of a desperate financial situation that you got into by falling prey to these dealerships’ deceptive sales practices.
If you dealt with Red Rock Hyundai, GMC or Honda in Grand Junction, contact platform manager Bryan Knight at (801) 792-3711 or email@example.com. If you did business with Red Rock Nissan or Kia, contact platform manager Brantley Reade at (801) 915-0929, firstname.lastname@example.org