Auto Dealer Fraud

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When you go to an auto dealer to make a purchase, you have the right to be treated fairly and presented with nothing but the truth, as you would with any product purchase. You should expect precise information about an automobile’s condition, performance, add-on features, and safety rating. However, not all auto dealers are concerned about the consumer and would rather cut corners to make a sale or turn a profit.

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Forms of Auto Dealer Fraud you may Have Encountered

Sometimes when an auto dealer uses fraudulent business practices to trick a consumer, it can be so subtle, the consumer might not notice it at first. In other cases, it is so egregious, it raises an immediate red flag and a bad feeling in the consumer’s gut. No matter the type of fraud or the results, it is entirely unacceptable and could be cited in a consumer lawsuit.

Common Forms of Auto Dealer Fraud Include:

  • Intentionally hiding the accident or repair history of a vehicle from a buyer.
  • Falsifying “used vehicle certification” records for a car that did not pass inspections.
  • Lowering a car’s retail price in advertisements and not matching it when making a sale.
  • Selling a rental or used vehicle but claiming it is brand new off the manufacturing line.
  • Letting a consumer buy a vehicle that has outstanding mandatory recalls.

Beware of Fraudulent Car Sales After Hurricanes Irma and Harvey

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, Hurricane Irma damaged nearly 70,000 vehicles, and Hurricane Harvey damaged about 270,000. Salvage auction companies are gathering the totaled cars and selling them to buyers. As a result, before purchasing a used car, you should look up the car’s history by tracking its Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). This number should let you know if the vehicle has been branded as flood-damaged, salvaged, or beyond repair at any time in its history. While consumer laws require sellers to disclose information concerning vehicle title history, some dealers may try to slip through the system. After a hurricane, you must beware of nice-looking cars with hidden water damage when going to a used car dealership.

Here are some signs of flood damage you can look for when buying a car:

  • Musty or muddy carpet
  • New carpet in an old car
  • Rusty screws under the dashboard
  • Drain plugs that have been removed on the bottom of the car doors (to drain water)
  • Mud or debris in hard-to-clean places, such as in the panels of the trunk
  • A water line on the reflector or lens of the headlights

If looking up the title history from the vehicle’s VIN does not work, these signs of water damage can alert you to a fraudulent car sale. The floodwaters of the recent hurricanes have damaged or destroyed thousands of vehicles. That is why it is essential to do your research before purchasing a car.

Flood damage can cause corrosion and rust in a car’s electrical system, which could cause it to short circuit. It is essential to be wary when buying a vehicle after Hurricanes Irma and Harvey and conduct a thorough inspection of the car before purchasing it. You should also pay attention when going to the body shop to get parts for your vehicle. Some businesses may cut corners and use flood-damaged parts to repair your car. However, these parts may not last and may end up costing you more in the long run.

To learn more about fraudulent car sales after Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, read our blog or contact our office today.

Get the Respectful Legal Representation You Deserve

After being cruelly tricked by an auto dealer who used fraudulent business practices, we understand that it can be difficult to trust any business. You will find that our team of North Carolina consumer law and injury attorneys do everything in our power to make you comfortable with and confident in our legal services when handling your claim. Your priorities and objectives genuinely become our own, and we never make big case decisions without discussing the options with you first.

Discover what it is like to work with a law firm that actually cares about its clients. Call (800) 351-3008 or email The Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor today.
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