Some things should be obvious. But, apparently, a columnist in car dealer publication Automotive News felt that car dealerships need to be told that: “Signing a customer’s name is forgery. Period.” Check out the article, which suggests that the reasons for forgery are somewhat benign. Our experience with car dealer forgeries suggest that there is frequently a more sinister motive.We have handled several cases where a consumer signed a contract at the dealership and later discovered that a completely different contract – with a forged signature – had been assigned to a bank or finance company. In some cases, the terms were the same, but in others, the terms were different. Sometimes, those differences do not favor the consumer. In a few instances, it appears that someone at the dealership figured out how to juggle the numbers to make more profit. In other instances, the dealership had trouble assigning the contract to a bank and changed the terms to get approval. For example, if a bank determines that the interest rate used in the contract was too high, the dealership might increase the purchase price or add “extras” that the consumer never received. Although the payments might stay the same (or about the same), the consumer will lose out if they want to trade-in, refinance, or pay-off the loan early.How can a consumer tell if there is a forged contract? Check the account statement from the bank and compare it to the finance contract. If there is a difference, however small, call the bank and ask it to send you a copy of your retail installment contract.Car dealers shouldn’t need a columnist to tell them that signing a customer’s name is forgery. It is also wrong. And, it is quite common.