Car Dealer Rip-Offs In A Nutshell!


Author: Lowell Steiger

Published On: October 20, 2011

Okay, so you’re ready to buy or lease that shiny new or used car. You’ve picked it out, the car is a beaut! It’s a great fit for your image, your needs, your life. But beware! Amid all of that excitement lurks the possibility that you are getting ripped off by the dealer.

In this post I’m going to briefly describe the many, many, many ways that an unscrupulous dealer can rip you off. Call or e-mail me if you think you’ve been a victim of one or more of these scams and we will explore your situation together (consultations are, of course, free!). You may have legal rights and it is my job to empower you with knowledge of those rights and remedies!!!

Odometer Fraud

Misdisclosure of odometer accuracy and misrepresentation of a vehicle’s mileage. This can happen in a number of ways including, but not limited to: Rolling back the mileage, disconnecting the odometer while the car is being driven by executives, building cars with odometers that overstate mileage which decreases the time the vehicle is under warranty and increasing mileage penalties on leased vehicles. Click here for further info on odometer fraud

Undisclosed Prior Damage — Decreased Market Value!

You have rights if you find out that you were not told about prior damage to your car. It could have been damaged by weather conditions (floods, hurricanes, storms, etc.), a prior wreck or if it had been stolen and stripped. (Just look at these dramatic before and after pictures!!!)

Seriously, though, even if a car seems to be mechanically sound and cosmetically clean, its prior damage and/or wreck history means that its true market value has been dramatically decreased!

Undisclosed Prior History: Mechanical Problems, Lemon Laundering

Dealers may fail to disclose documented histories of mechanical problems. Unconscionable you say? You’re right but conscience isn’t always foremost on the car salesman’s mind! You have rights!!

What is Lemon Laundering? Well, there is widespread consumer use of their state’s lemon laws. Manufacturers repurchase thousands of lemons every year. Lemon Laundering is the resale of these defective used cars to unsuspecting consumers without disclosure of their prior history. Again, unconscionable? Again, yes. Again, you have rights.

Not Telling You Who Owned Your Car or How Your Car Was Utilized! (Bad!!!)

Oh, so your new car was owned by a Little Old Lady From Pasadena? Maybe. What if you weren’t told that your car actually one of the following scenarios?

Multiple prior owners, former rental car, police car, part of a fleet of leased cars, repossessed, used for driver’s education training or former taxi cab? Hmm, if any of these scenarios applies was not disclosed to you, then you’ve got rights and you need to contact me (see below).

As-Is — Really?

An “As-is” sticker in the window or even on your sales contract is not an absolute defense for fraud!!! A seller cannot use warranty disclaimers as a shield against claims of fraud or misrepresentation arising from their actions toward you. If you’ve been defrauded, you have rights!

What You May Be Entitled To

When you’ve been defrauded, you may be entitled to the following:

  • Return the car and get a full refund of your down payment, payments already made (rescission)
  • Damages
  • Attorneys fees
  • Punitive damages

Justice For You

If you or a family member or close friend has been ripped off (or you suspect has been ripped off) by an unscrupulous car dealer or salesperson, then you have rights that should be explored.

Contact me to evaluate your concerns and provide you with the utmost in legal guidance.

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About the Author

I’m passionate about representing my injured clients. I'm a Personal injury lawyer who treats you with the respect that you deserve.

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