A retail installment sale is a transaction between you and a dealer to purchase a vehicle where, you agree to pay the dealer over time, paying both the value of the vehicle plus interest. A dealer can sell the retail installment contract to a lender or other party. The retail installment contract is arguably the most important document you will sign when financing a car.
The intent of this article is to provide a review of key elements. However, be sure to read the entire contract, ask questions, and understand your obligation before driving off the dealer lot.
Note: your retail installment contract may look different depending on the lender and state. All unused lines on the contract should be filled in with “NA” or “0.”
1. Tops of contracts typically have an area for your name, full address, and that of the seller (the dealer). This information repeats on other documentation and is used by lenders to among other things send billing statements and communications. Verifying the information is a simple, important task.