Buying a car can be a stressful and painstaking event. Now, picture this; you have successfully got approved for an auto loan, walked into a car dealership shop, negotiated, paid and drove off. But later, you discover that something is wrong with the car and you can no longer drive it in peace.
You have already spent a lot of time and money trying to figure out the problem but you can’t. Then it turns out the car dealer lied to you about the condition of the car. To make things worse, he even lied to you about the price of the vehicle.
What can you do in such a case? Can you sue the car dealership for lying and fraud? How do you prove your claims if you decide to sue? So, if you have been wondering whether you can sue a car dealership for lying, you came to the right place.
Read on to learn some of the common forms of auto dealership fraud and what you need to do if you feel like a dealer lied to you.
Common Forms of Car Dealership Fraud
There are different ways that auto dealerships fraudulently take advantage of unsuspecting customers. Most of these tactics can be quite easy to miss. Therefore, it is essential to pay attention to warning signs and don’t close the deal unless you are 100% sure that everything is okay.
1. Spot Delivery
This is probably the most common tactic that auto dealers use in an attempt to get more money out of their customers. Once you have worked out on the terms of your car loan, signed off the paperwork and drove off, you shouldn’t hear from the car dealer again.
Instead, the dealer may call you a few days or weeks later to notify you that there was a “slight problem” with financing your auto loan. He/she will state a few reasons why the loan was not approved only to follow up by requesting additional funds or a slightly higher monthly payment than what you had agreed upon.
The dealer may start arguing that he had to throw in a lot of incentives such as an annual maintenance plan before the loan met approval requirements. This is usually referred to as “spot delivery” and is a common form of auto fraud.
The law requires car dealerships to disclose all information related to the car you are buying. However, some dealers may illegally withhold vital information about a vehicle, especially if the information lowers the desirability.
For instance, if the car has been involved in an accident and the dealer is aware of it but chooses not to disclose this information to a potential buyer, he/she is committing auto fraud.
3. Affirmative Misrepresentation
Affirmative misrepresentation is the opposite of non-disclosure. Instead of the dealer withholding crucial information about the car, he/she may choose to use the wrong information to make it more appealing.
For instance, the dealer may lie to you that the car has been fully serviced and taken through routine maintenance when it has not. He/she may also decide to lie to you that the vehicle is new when it is actually used. This form of auto fraud is deliberate.
Can I Sue a Car Dealership for Lying?
If you believe your car dealer lied to you, then you can legally sue him/her for hiding facts about the vehicle.
However, before you proceed with the case, consult an experienced auto fraud attorney first. The attorney will assess your situation and advise you accordingly.
To prove your case, you will need to show that the dealer misrepresented or omitted some facts causing you to lose money. Auto fraud cases are usually filed as torts. As a remedy for losses suffered, you can ask for the right to surrender the car and get a replacement or get a full refund of your payments.
If you can prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the auto dealer lied, you can even collect court costs and attorney fees from the dealer as a way of punishing him/her for the shameful conduct.
If you want to sue the dealer for negligence, you must prove that he/she failed to act responsibly and that this failure cost you money. For instance, if a dealer sells you a vehicle without inspecting brakes and airbags, you might sue for negligence if you are involved in an accident as a result of that act.
Auto Insurance Fraud
Some auto dealerships are also involved in auto insurance fraud. Auto insurance fraud may mean that the dealer’s repair shop replaces your vehicle’s parts with cheaper parts and bills your insurance company for more expensive parts.
Also, the dealership may fail to perform a repair on your car, yet they are aware of a faulty part that needs repair/replacement and doesn’t disclose the information to you. It means the dealership is putting your life at risk by failing to disclose such crucial information to you.
If you are involved in an accident with a car you purchased from a dealer involved in auto insurance fraud, you can sue the dealership for auto fraud and seek compensation for other damages sustained during the crash.
The best way to avoid falling victim of car dealership fraud is being vigilant when purchasing a car. Don’t let the salesman or finance manager rush you through the process. Take time to read the documents and understand everything before you sign them. If you have got any questions, be sure to ask the right people.