Tax season is the time many people take those refunds from the federal government and go car shopping.
But in some instances consumers fall into a trap...they're told by a car salesman they are being financed for that dream vehicle and are actually allowed to leave the lot with the ride.
But Shani Peterson, while 7 months pregnant, learned that wasn't the case. She was given false hopes by salesmen at two different dealerships who allowed her to leave in vehicles - the cars she though she owned had to be returned.
What Peterson encountered is not uncommon when consumers lack the credit history or worthiness to dictate the terms and close the deal.
She says, "I've driven the car I've put miles on the car so I'm thinking it's mine I've put my kids car seats in the car I'm thinking it's mine and we're good to go. So it's very aggravating to think you have this car then you have to turn around and give the keys back."
Monica Russo is with the Better Business Bureau. She says, "there have been some cases where the deposit has been kept there are cases where people have traded in their cars and didn't get the financing then their old vehicle was gone."
Russo says when most people think the car deal is done - it's actually not. Russo says dealerships allow some consumers to drive away in cars for weeks under a bailment agreement. That document states you're borrowing the car until you can be financed if not you have to bring the vehicle back to the lot.
"Pay very close attention to what you are signing You want to make sure you've purchased a car and driving off a lot and it's actually yours and you haven't signed what's termed a bailment agreement," says Russo.
In the meantime, Peterson learned the hard way...while the car salesmen were trying to get her financed they were running her credit multiple times...hurting her credit score.
But there is a happy ending for Peterson - who happens to be a mother of five - she now has this Dodge Durango after arranging her own financing before hitting the dealership. And that's exactly what the BBB suggests.
"Have outside financing from a credit union if you can help it at all have outside financing," says Peterson.