Auto Dealer Fraud

Regardless of how much research you do before going in to buy a car, there are bound to be things you still don’t know about the vehicle you’re purchasing. Unfortunately, some auto dealers take advantage of their customers’ lack of knowledge.

For example, you might have researched everything about the car you want, including the manufacturer’s listed price and which parts come standard and which are available to be added on. But if a car dealer sells both used and new cars, you have no way of knowing which cars are truly new, and which ones are used cars being sold as new. You rely on the car dealer to give you that information, and while there are plenty of honest car dealers out there, there are too many who are willing to take advantage of your trust.

Auto Dealer Fraud vs Defective Automobiles

Before we get into the details of auto dealer fraud, let’s first define the differences between auto dealer fraud and defective automobiles. Someone engages in auto dealer fraud when they use deception or fraudulent business practices when selling vehicles. When someone sells a car that is not fit to be on the road, or doesn’t meet the standards of fitness and safety implied by the warranty, that’s a defective automobile, and those cases fall under the jurisdiction of federal and state products liability laws, as well as state lemon laws.

Types of Auto Dealer Fraud

Unfortunately, there’s a lot to be on the lookout for when you’re trying to avoid falling victim to auto dealer fraud, and they each have their own red flags. Some of the most common types of auto dealer fraud include:

  • Advertising a vehicle for a certain price, then telling people that particular deal is no longer available and trying to sell them the same vehicle for a higher price. This is commonly known as a “bait-and-switch” tactic;
  • Allowing a consumer to take the car home under the mistaken belief that a loan application is pending and they’ll just have to come back to sign some paperwork. Once they return, the auto dealer presents a different loan agreement with a higher interest rate. This is known as “yo-yo financing;”
  • Charging for parts that come standard;
  • Claiming a vehicle is new when it’s really used;
  • Claiming a vehicle has features or options that are not included;
  • Claiming a warranty includes coverage that is not really included;
  • Inflating the price by charging for extra parts or services not requested by the consumer;
  • Failing to disclose damage done to a used vehicle;
  • Misrepresenting a consumer’s credit score or eligibility for financing to try and force them to agree to a loan with a higher interest rate;
  • Rolling back the odometer on a used car so they can claim the car hasn’t been used as much as it has;
  • Selling an extended service contract and claiming it’s an extended warranty (these seem the same, but they’re not, and the differences will have a big impact on your wallet);
  • Telling consumers who are signing a lease agreement that they will own the vehicle once they are finished with the payments (there’s a big difference between a car loan and a lease on a car);
  • Telling the consumer that optional parts are required, then charging for those additional parts;
  • Undervaluing used vehicles brought in to be resold or traded in.

Some steps you can take to protect yourself from some of these tactics include resisting aggressive sales tactics, requesting a repair history for used vehicles, and asking to have a mechanic inspect the vehicle, especially if it’s a used vehicle. And never take a vehicle home without making the first payment of your lease or car loan.

If it’s too late and you’ve already fallen victim to auto dealer fraud, you want attorneys who are as honest as the day is long and almost available on that basis. We fight for your rights and work diligently on your behalf to get you justice and any just compensation you may be due. We’re there for you in, around and even beyond Chicago. From Oakbrook to Northbrook and any city you can name, we claim jurisdiction over claims of fraud and a huge range of business law disputes that may involve litigation. Call us to discuss your legal needs during a FREE consultation. Call 630-333-0333 or via our website by clicking here. We look forward to speaking with you.

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