2017 Montana Code Annotated
Part 2. Retail Installment Sales
31-1-231. Requirements of retail installment contracts

Universal Citation: MT Code § 31-1-231 (2017)

31-1-231. Requirements of retail installment contracts. (1) Each retail installment contract must be in writing, signed by both the buyer and the seller, and completed as to all essential provisions prior to the signing of the contract by the buyer. However, if a retail installment transaction is a sale of goods other than a motor vehicle where title, lien, or other security interest is not retained or taken by the seller, then the retail installment contract is not required to be contained in a single document. In that case, if the contract is contained in more than one document, then one document may be an original document executed by the retail buyer applicable to purchases of goods or services to be made by the retail buyer from time to time, and in that case the document, together with the sales slip, account book, or other written statement relating to each purchase, must set forth all of the information required by this section and constitutes the retail installment contract for each purchase.

(2) The printed portion of the contract, other than instructions for completion, must be in at least 8-point type. The contract must conspicuously disclose the following notice:

"1. Notice to the buyer. Do not sign this contract before you read it or if it contains any blank spaces other than blank spaces for the serial number of the goods or other similar information and the due date of the first installment if the goods have not been delivered to you at the time you sign the contract.

2. You are entitled to an exact copy of the contract bearing your signature.

3. Under the law, you have the right to pay off in advance the full amount due and to obtain a partial refund of the finance charge."

(3) If the contract covers the sale of a motor vehicle, it must also contain a specific statement that is conspicuously disclosed that liability insurance coverage for bodily injury and property damage caused to others is not included if that is the case.

(4) The contract must contain the names of the seller and the buyer, the place of business of the seller, the residence or place of business of the buyer as specified by the buyer, and a description of the goods sold or services furnished or to be furnished and must clearly state and describe any collateral security taken for the buyer's obligation.

(5) The contract must contain the following items:

(a) the cash sale price of the goods or services;

(b) the amount of the buyer's downpayment and whether made in money or goods or partly in money and partly in goods, including a brief description of the goods traded in;

(c) the difference between items in subsections (5)(a) and (5)(b);

(d) the amount, if any, included for insurance and other benefits if a separate charge is made for insurance and other benefits, specifying the types of coverage and benefits;

(e) the amount of official fees;

(f) the principal balance, which is the sum of items in subsections (5)(c) through (5)(e);

(g) the amount of the finance charge;

(h) the total amount of the time balance, stated as one sum in dollars and cents, which is the sum of items in subsections (5)(f) and (5)(g), payable in installments by the buyer to the seller;

(i) the number of installments;

(j) the amount of each installment; and

(k) the due date or period of installments.

(6) The items in subsection (5) need not be stated in the sequence or order set forth, and additional items may be included to explain the computations made in determining the amount to be paid by the buyer.

(7) A retail installment contract may not be signed by any party when it contains blank spaces to be filled in after it has been signed, except that if delivery of the goods is not made at the time of the signing of the contract, the serial number of the goods or similar information and the due date of the first installment may be inserted in the contract after it is signed. The buyer's written acknowledgment, conforming to the requirements of 31-1-232, of delivery of a copy of a contract, in any action or proceeding by or against a holder of the contract without knowledge to the contrary when the holder purchases the contract, must be conclusive proof:

(a) of the delivery;

(b) that the contract when signed did not contain any blank spaces except as provided in this subsection (7); and

(c) of compliance with 31-1-231 through 31-1-236.

(8) If a retail installment transaction is subject to the federal Truth in Lending Act, 15 U.S.C. 1601-1667e, a seller that has complied with all of the requirements of the act must be considered to have satisfied the requirements of subsections (2) through (6) of this section.

(9) A person may not engage in any device or subterfuge intended to evade the requirements of this part, including making loans or assisting another in making loans disguised as personal property sales and leaseback transactions or disguising or assisting another in disguising loan proceeds as cash rebates for the pretextual installment sale of goods or services.

History: En. Sec. 7, Ch. 282, L. 1959; R.C.M. 1947, 74-607(part); amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 88, L. 1979; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 89, L. 1985; amd. Sec. 972, Ch. 56, L. 2009; amd. Sec. 6, Ch. 63, L. 2013.

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