a consumer is signing a contract in a different language

Contracts in Other Languages

If you speak to the salesperson in a language other than English, some purchases require that you get a copy of the contract in that language.

Contracts in Other Languages


Some contracts must be written in languages other than English

If you buy something and you speak to the salesperson in Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese or Korean, the business must give you a copy of the contract in that language. This allows you to read and understand the contract before you sign the English language original.

Posted notice required

A notice telling you of this right must be posted in the area where you sign the contract.

Contracts that must be in languages other than English

This law applies to:

The sale of automobiles and appliances

  • Door-to-door sales
  • Loans
  • Contracts for consumer goods and services
  • Leases for renting an apartment or a house
  • Legal services

Contracts that don’t have to be in languages other than English

Home-improvement contracts can be in English only.

If a sale is done only in English, the seller does not have to give you a version of the contract in another language.

Interpreters

If you bring an interpreter who is 18 years or older, the seller does not have to give you a contract in the other language. If your interpreter is under 18, the seller must give you a copy of the sales contract in Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese or Korean.

Before signing a contract

Do not sign anything that you do not understand or agree with. You have the right to understand the contract before you sign it.

If there is something you do not understand, ask for an explanation.

Also be sure to get any promises that are made written into the contract.

If a business is required to provide a copy of the contract in a language other than English but does not, you may be able to cancel the contract.

SIGNING A CONTRACT

Before you sign a contract, do the following:

1. Understand the contract

You have the right to understand a contract before you are asked to sign it. If there is something you don’t understand, ask for an explanation. If you have doubts about a purchase, go home and think it over. Don’t be pressured into signing before you are ready. Statements that you must purchase today to get a good deal may not be true.

2. Never sign a contract with blank spaces

Cross out any blank spaces and any statements that do not apply to your purchase.

3. Get all promises in writing

If the seller has promised you something, make sure that it is written on the contract. If the seller won’t put it in writing, don’t sign. Promises a salesperson makes should be written on the contract.

4. Make changes to the contract before signing

If you want to add or delete something to the contract, do it before you sign.

5. Get an exact copy

Get an exact copy of the contract when you sign it.  Don’t let them tell you that a copy will be mailed to you later.

Civil Code 1632

County of Los Angeles Department of Consumer and Business Affairs. Last change: Apr. 14, 2011

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