Detecting Car Fraud and Dealership Rip-Offs
Rule Number 1:Â Get aÂ consumer lawyer to check your contract and car history - always.
The first thing to know about car fraud rip-offs is that you are likely never to discover most of them yourself until it is too late.Â Car dealers can be experts at breaking the law.Â From repainting cars to hide accident damage, to putting illegal charges in your contracts, most dealer frauds are beyond the ken of the average consumer.Â Many of the illegal and undisclosed charges, are probably beyond the perception of even the keenest consumer.
Donât leave anything to chance, contact a lawyer who specializes inÂ detecting dealership fraud --Â every time you buy a car.Â They may be able to catch the rip-off early and avoid losses to you down the road.
Rule Number 2:Â Nearly every car deal involves at least an attempt to rip you off.
From negotiating only on the basis of monthly payment, to packing you with incredibly overpriced service contracts, GAP contracts, surface protection, or security systems, nearly every dealer is out to rip you off.Â Just check with us (or with your bank) and find out how many hundreds or thousands you were overcharged!
Rule Number 3:Â Knowledge is Power â Read these Common Car Dealer Frauds:
1)Â Not-So-Certifed After All:Â Most manufacturers and dealerships advertise used vehicles as âCPO,â âCertified,â or âCertified Pre-Ownedâ vehicles.Â Why? Because consumers have been shown to pay 3 to 4 thousand dollars more for these vehicles!Â Dealers, however, too often just pay the manufacturer for the right to advertise cars this way, but then donât do the inspections and repairs they require. Manufacturers often just wash their hands once the price is paid, despite doing little or nothing to monitor dealer abuse.
2)Â Calling You In For A âRe-Writeâ: Being called back in to âsign some documentsâ after you thought you bought the car? Watch out! This is one of the times most fraught with fraud.Â Contact a qualified consumerÂ attorney immediately if this happens to you.Â Under most dealership contracts, the dealer can only cancel the sale within 10 days.Â If they donât, they may become the lender until they can find someone to buy the loan from them.Â We have seen numerous cases where dealers tried to scare consumers into signing contracts they didn't have to, and almost always misrepresent the consumer'sÂ rights in these situations.
3)Â The âYou Have To Sign A New Contractâ Scam:Â If a dealer EVER tells you this, contact aÂ consumer lawyer immediately.Â You have rights and they are almost certainly wrong.
4)Â Â Backdating the Contract:Â Did you get called back in to sign a new contract?Â Was the date on the second contract the same as the first, even though you signed them on different days?Â Contact a car fraud attorney immediately to find out if your rights have been violated.
5)Â Charged For A
6)Â Over-Sticker-Price Sales: The vehicle code states that a dealership cannot sell a new vehicle for more than sticker price (a.k.a. the manufacturerâs suggested retail price, or MSRP) unless there is a dealer addendum sticker disclosing itemized costs above MSRP physically affixed to the car. Inflating the cash price of a vehicle â as in the case of a negative equity deal (see above) often results in selling a vehicle for higher than the MSRP, while also affecting the amount charged for taxes, licensing & registration and finance charges.
7)Â No Translations Into Spanish (Or Other Language) Sales: California Civil Code Â§ 1632 states if a lease or purchase of a vehicle is primarily negotiated in Spanish, then a Spanish translation of the contract must be provided to the customer prior to signing the English-language contract. This law was recently expanded to include Chinese, Vietnamese, Tagalog and Korean. Failure to comply gives the customer the right to rescind the transaction.
8)Â Phony/Hidden Car History: Â Car dealerships are required to disclose important facts to you that they know about the cars, trucks, and vans they sell.Â For example,
Was the vehicle involved in a prior crash or accident that caused substantial damageÂ -- car dealers are experts at disguising damage
Is the vehicle a prior rental car â no one pays the same for a rental car, dealers buy cheap and sell high
Is the vehicle a âlemon law buy back,â meaning the vehicle was repurchased by either the manufacturer or dealer under the lemon law because of a defect â these cars can be dangerous
Is the odometer not accurate or not working â non-disclosure
9)Â âNewâ or âUsedâ:
10)Â "Hey, Thatâs Not My Signature" -- Forgery: Dealerships sometimes forge the signature of customers on contracts to change the terms. Other commonly forged documents include: credit applications (with fraudulent representations about income, etc.), as well as buyerâs guides and disclosure forms (to prevent buyers from reading their buyersâ rights and/or information that may cause them to reconsider their purchase decisions).Â Call aÂ consumer fraudÂ attorney immediately if you suspect this happened to you.
11)Â "Hey, Thatâs Not On My Contract":
12)Â âDragging the Bodyâ:Â Did the dealership send you to a particular bank or other lender to get your car loan?Â If so, your rights may have been violated.Â Call a consumer fraud lawyer to find out.
For more information contact us:
John W. Hanson,
B.A. Hons., J.D., LL.M.
ConsumerÂ justice is our passion and our entire reason for becoming lemon lawyers, consumer lawyers, and law professionals. Too often, working men and women faced with unscrupulous manufacturers and car dealers are left feeling they have no power to fight back. Here at the Hanson Law Firm, we are committed to letting the public know they have real rights under the law and can find affordable, high-quality legal assistance. We are lemon lawyers and consumer advocates because we love fighting for the "little guy." From successfully defending public interest groups like the Utilities Consumer Action Network faced with "gag" lawsuits from corporations, to winning Bar and other awards for public service, to successfully prosecuting numerous important individual and class consumer cases in the courts, we have made our passion our daily mission.
We are committed to ensuring consumer rights are improved rather than rolled-back by the well-paid corporate lobbyists in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. We all have dedicated our lives to public education and action. Watch our website and newsletters to stay informed and active with us!
The internet abounds with "lemon mills" who will run your case with little or no personal attention. They can leave your rights and your money "on the table" because they don't know or don't care enough. You are not a number or a dollar sign to us. At the Hanson LawÂ Firm we will never sacrifice quality for quantity.
The Hanson LawÂ Firm is a life-long dream for all of us. Join us in the fight for your rights!
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