You're sitting in the car listening to the radio and a boisterous voice comes on to tell you about the deals available at the local dealership. Then comes a wave of rapidly spoken legal copy filled with terms and conditions.
Well-qualified lessees something something. Tax, title something something.
We've all heard them. And yet we can barely catch a word.
Susan Grant thinks this type of tacked-on hyperspeed disclosure is essentially pointless.
"Disclosures are only worthwhile if people can understand them," said Grant, director of consumer protection and privacy for the Consumer Federation of America. "If they are spoken so fast that we can't catch the details, I don't think it's meaningful disclosure."
And yet these few seconds of verbal jumble serve important purposes. They give the dealership or manufacturer a way to avoid charges of misleading advertising, and to throw in the technical verbiage required by law when offering a deal that includes payment terms, rather than waste space in the rest of the ad.
If a dealership announces a $99-a-month offer, it must also explain whether the payment represents a lease, the term of the lease and number of payments.