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Are You a Victim of Auto Dealer Fraud?

With their high-pressure sales tactics and domineering personalities, car salespeople have developed a reputation for being untrustworthy and dishonest. Shopping for a new vehicle can be an exciting experience, but the process can swiftly turn into a nightmare if the car dealer carries out fraudulent practices known as auto dealer fraud. This type of fraud can take place at any point during the vehicle purchase process, from advertising to negotiating pricing and financing terms. If you believe that you may have been a victim of auto dealer fraud, contact the experienced professionals at Sweeney Law, P.A. today.

What Is Auto Dealer Fraud?

Auto dealer fraud refers to the unlawful practices carried out by automobile dealers that can occur at almost any stage of the purchase process. Most types of auto dealer fraud can be characterized as either affirmative misrepresentations or non-disclosures. With affirmative misrepresentations, salespeople actively mislead customers. Examples of affirmative misrepresentations include tampering with the odometer, stating that a vehicle has features that it does not, and “bait and switch” advertising. Non-disclosures refers to when a dealer withholds information that affects the value or appeal of a vehicle, such as failing to inform the customer that a vehicle was involved in a collision or was previously used as a rental.

Beware of These Deceitful Practices

There are many different types of auto dealer fraud, but these are the most common unlawful practices that can occur:

  • Inflating the total price above the sticker price by including unapproved and undisclosed fees

  • “Bait and switch” advertising: advertising a vehicle for a certain price, telling the consumer that the advertised deal is not available, and then trying to sell them the same vehicle at a higher price

  • Misrepresenting the mileage on a vehicle by tampering with the odometer

  • Deceptively stating that optional features are required

  • Undervaluing a customer’s trade-in vehicle

  • Falsely claiming that a vehicle’s warranty offers protection that it does not cover

  • Withholding information regarding a vehicle’s damage from an accident, fire, or flood

  • “Yo-yo financing:” letting a consumer drive off the lot with a new vehicle believing that a loan application is pending and then having the consumer return to sign for a more expensive loan

The best way to protect yourself from auto dealer fraud is to educate yourself. Always test drive a vehicle before purchasing it and demand a full inspection of the vehicle. If you are purchasing a used vehicle, be sure to ask a trusted mechanic to inspect it and request a repair history.

How Can an Auto Dealer Fraud Attorney Help Me?

Federal and state consumer protection statutes apply to many types of auto dealer fraud, protecting consumers who are shopping for vehicles. These laws deal with deceptive practices carried out by automobile dealers. Auto dealer fraud laws differ from “lemon laws,” which address the sale of deceptive vehicles.

If you recently purchased a new vehicle and you suspect the dealer committed fraud, we encourage you to speak to an auto dealer fraud attorney. An attorney specializing in consumer law will evaluate your case and explain your available options. They will tell you what you can expect if you choose to file a lawsuit against the dealer, and will work with you for the best possible outcome.

Sweeney Law, P.A.: Consumer Law Attorney

Sweeney Law, P.A. provides full legal representation for consumers who are victims of auto dealer fraud. Our founding attorney, Brendan A. Sweeney, and his team of experienced attorneys are here to assist you with your legal troubles. If you suspect you are a victim of auto dealer fraud, contact Sweeney Law, P.A. immediately at (954) 440-3993.

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