In Lopez v. Asbury Fresno Imports, LLC, — Cal.Rptr.3d —-, 2015 WL 513150 (Cal.App. 5 Dist. 2015), the Court of Appeal affirmed a bench trial award in favor of a car dealer against a consumer. The Court of Appeal rejected Plaintiffs’ claim under the Rees-Levering Automobile Sales Finance Act, finding that even if a “Four-Square” was a “purchase order” under ASFA, a “purchase order” was different than a “conditional sale contract” — only the latter of which required disclosure of the APR.
Nothing in the 2007 version of subdivision (a) of section 2982 required a purchase order to include an interest rate. Section 2984.1 required disclosures concerning insurance on the purchased vehicle. Sub-division (m) of section 2982 pertained to the manner, method, or terminology in which the disclosures were to be made. Thus, the premise of plaintiffs’ argument – that a purchase order is required to include disclosure of the interest rate used to calculate the monthly payments – is not supported by the authorities plaintiffs cite. Accordingly, regardless whether the read-back constituted a purchase order, the trial court correctly determined plaintiffs failed to meet their burden of establishing defendant violated the ASFA by not disclosing the interest rate in the read-back.
The Court of Appeal found that Civil Code § 1632 was not triggered by Plaintiffs’ son negotiating the RISC in English, and then translating it into Spanish to the Plaintiffs.
Plaintiffs contend defendant violated this provision by failing to furnish plaintiffs with a Spanish translation of their purchase contract, which they assert was primarily negotiated between plaintiffs and defendant in Spanish. They maintain the exception for a customer using his or her own interpreter does not apply, because the interpreter plaintiffs provided, their son David, was a minor. ¶ The trial court found in favor of defendant on this issue, reasoning that David was the primary negotiator on behalf of plaintiffs, and he negotiated with the English-speaking representatives of defendant in English. Thus, section 1632 was not applicable be-cause the transaction was not negotiated primarily in Spanish. We agree that the contract was not one negotiated primarily in Spanish and therefore was not governed by section 1632. ¶ In construing a statute, “ ‘we look first to the language of the statute, giving effect to its “plain meaning.” ’ [Citations.]” ( Burden v. Snowden (1992) 2 Cal.4th 556, 562.) By its plain terms, the requirement that the customer be provided with a copy of a foreign language translation of the contract applies only when the “person engaged in a trade or business … negotiates primarily in Spanish.” (§ 1632, subd. (b).) In this case, the person engaged in a trade or business was defendant. On plaintiffs’ first visit to the dealership, they spoke with a Spanish-speaking salesman and their conversation was in Spanish. It is undisputed, however, that there was no negotiation of the sale of the vehicle on that occasion. Plaintiffs looked at the cars available; David expressed interest in a particular model, but it was not immediately available with the navigation system David wanted. The salesman told plaintiffs the car, equipped as David wanted, was rare, with only two available in the country; it would have to be ordered from out of state, which would take a couple of weeks. There was little or no discussion of price or other terms at that time. ¶ When the car arrived at defendant’s dealership, the Spanish-speaking salesman was unavailable. Plaintiffs negotiated the purchase of the vehicle with a salesman and a finance manager who did not speak Spanish. Defendant’s representatives negotiated in English. Plaintiffs negotiated in English, through David. ¶ Section 1632 contemplates a situation in which both parties are using the foreign language in negotiating the transaction. In that situation, the statute prevents the seller from suddenly springing on the buyer a contract written in English and expecting the buyer to sign it without reviewing its terms. The seller is required to provide a translation of the contract, in the language used to negotiate its terms, for the buyer to review prior to signing the English version. ¶ We do not believe the exception in section 1632, subdivision (h), for a party who brings his or her own interpreter, applies when the seller negotiates in English and the buyer negotiates in English through the interpreter, as plaintiffs contend. The statute as a whole applies only when the “person engaged in a trade or business,” in this case the seller, negotiates primarily in a language other than English. If the buyer brings an interpreter who negotiates with the seller in English, then the seller does not negotiate primarily in the foreign language. As we interpret the statute, the exception in section 1632, subdivision (h), applies when the parties negotiate in the foreign language, but the buyer is accompanied by an interpreter who can review the written contract in English and advise the buyer whether it accurately reflects the terms agreed to during negotiations in the foreign language. In that situation, the statute does not require the “person engaged in a trade or business” to provide the customer with whom it negotiates with a copy of the contract translated into the foreign language. ¶ Defendant did not primarily negotiate the sale of the vehicle to plaintiffs in Spanish. During negotiations, the parties primarily communicated using English. Accordingly, section 1632, subdivision (b), did not require defendant to provide plaintiffs with a Spanish translation of the contract. The trial court correctly concluded plaintiffs failed to meet their burden of establishing a statutory violation by defendant.