Buying a new car is one of the biggest financial decisions that many people make. A vehicle sale is a complicated transaction that involves a lot of paperwork and information. Dishonest auto dealers may try to pad their commission by engaging in unscrupulous practices and even outright fraud. In the excitement of the car buying process, consumers may get taken advantage of by dealers.
Even if you have carefully researched autos and shopped around to compare prices, unscrupulous car dealers can still find ways to deceive you. Dealers use a variety of scams and tricks to fool their customers. As most people do not buy cars every day, dealers get away with it.
Auto fraud can occur at almost any time when buying a new car. Dealers have a plethora of tricks up their sleeves to fool customers. Consumers can be scammed in a variety of ways, including through trade-ins, service contracts or the leasing or financing of the vehicle.
Consumers who have been scammed by auto dealers can file lawsuits and possibly win damages against auto dealerships. There have been auto fraud cases in which customers have won millions of dollars. You can reach out to an auto attorney at (818) 254-8413.
Auto Fraud Scams
The best thing that you can do to protect yourself against auto fraud is to be aware of deceitful practices. Here are some common car scams.
A dishonest auto dealer may promise things in their advertisements that they have no intention of following through on. When you show up at the dealership to try to close the deal, you are given the runaround. One of the more common advertising scams is known as the bait and switch. Using this tactic, a car dealer lures you to the car lot by offering a vehicle at a very attractive price. When you show up to buy the car, the dealer says that the advertised vehicle is no longer available. Then, they aggressively push a more expensive vehicle.
Failing to Disclose a Salvage Title
If a vehicle is involved in a collision and the damage is very severe, the insurance company will often declare the vehicle a total loss. This means that the cost of repairing the vehicle is more than 70 percent of the auto’s market value. Sometimes, in spite of being declared a “total loss,” a wrecked vehicle will be repaired. Salvaged vehicles are supposed to be repaired at licensed facilities and inspected for safety. If they pass the safety inspection, they can be sold. However, the title must indicate that they were declared a total loss at one time. This is called an auto loan salvage title. Sometimes, dealers fail to disclose that a title is salvaged or they try to sell a salvaged car as “certified.” Both of these practices are against the law in California. A dealer cannot imply that a salvaged vehicle is dealer or manufacturer certified.
Undervaluing Your Trade-In
Dealers may try to undervalue your trade-in. This practice leaves you paying more for the overall transaction. The dealer not only makes more money from your sale but they also make a larger profit when they sell your old vehicle to another customer.
Failing to Provide a Contract in Your Native Language
Many people are not aware of this, but if you negotiate an auto sales agreement in another language, such as Spanish or Chinese, the dealership is obligated to provide you with a translation of the contract before you sign it in English. If they fail to do so, then this is considered to be fraud.
Selling a Used Vehicle as New
Sometimes dealers will try to fool customers into thinking that a used car is new. They do this by listing a car that was returned to the dealership as “new.” This is illegal even if the automobile was brought back to the dealer just after purchase. Also, dealership demonstration cars cannot be listed as new. If the vehicle was used for any reason, it must be sold as such.
Consumer Action Law Group is one of the top auto fraud attorneys in the Los Angeles area.
At Consumer Action Law Group, we handle all kinds of auto dealer fraud cases. We provide professional and competent representation to our clients to help them recover damages against unfair and fraudulent dealers. If you believe that you might have been the victim of an auto scam, contact us at (818) 254-8413 to learn how you can protect your interests.