Mighty Thin Pancake

April 5, 2016
Thin Pancake

I had a nice gentleman call in to my firm a while back with a rather surprising story.

Apparently, he had financed a truck from a dealership, and driven it home. Almost a full 30 days later, he called the dealership to get the address to mail his first payment. For a while, he received some confusing replies. Eventually, he was told to bring his new truck back to them. They said he had not been approved on his financing after all, and he had to return the truck. The dealership had apparently intended to contact him earlier, but it had “slipped through the cracks.”

Understandably, he was upset. He had been driving his truck for 30 days and was prepared to make his first payment.

He wanted to know from me if this was legal. The short answer is always, “it depends.” In this case, it would depend on the agreements he signed to purchase the truck and take it home. Since he was financing at the lot, the finance department was “shopping his loan” to their lenders. Car finance paperwork generally allows for this necessary step, which can take weeks. This part can be avoided easily by either paying cash, or getting one’s financing at a bank or credit union, and paying that borrowed cash for a vehicle.

After I talked with this nice fellow, I asked him if this was really a bad thing, after all?

When he read me the interest rate, terms and fees, we both felt that this might be a golden opportunity to walk away from a hasty deal that was just not the best financial decision. In other words, he had felt ripped off and was ready to fight back. I told him to consider that he was almost ripped off and he ought to go kiss them for letting him walk way.

He took it back, canceled the deal and bought his friend’s truck for much a better deal. I had asked him to look at it the other way, in effect. Indeed, the perspective is all that really changed.

Sometimes the very thing we fear we should actually embrace. We will occasionally call evil “good” and good “evil” in our lives. Proverbs 18:17 says that “The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and cross examines him.”

Or, as the late great Dr. Adrian Rogers used to say, “it’s a mighty thin pancake that doesn’t have two sides.”

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