Car Dealer Fraud

Q: What is automotive fraud?
A: This is a very broad question. In general, the sale or leasing of cars without a proper disclosure of known defects or dangerous conditions with the vehicle constitutes auto dealer fraud. Also, fraudulently representing to a consumer that he or she is buying a car, when in fact they are signing documents for the leasing of the vehicle, is car lease fraud. Leases are usually less favorable for many consumers, while more profitable for many dealers and finance companies. Auto fraud can also include making important misrepresentations about the financial terms and obligations of a vehicle sale or lease.

Q: What are some common examples of auto fraud?
A: Frequent examples which my office handles include sales or leases of cars with undisclosed collision damage, sales or leases of cars with rolled-back odometers, sales or leases of cars with undisclosed lemon law histories (i.e. the car was repurchased from a prior owner as a “lemon”, and this was not disclosed to the subsequent buyer), fraudulently putting a consumer into a lease where he or she thought they were purchasing the vehicle, non-disclosure of warranty restrictions and limitations, charging consumers for accessories not actually sold with the vehicle (e.g. airbags), fraudulent car repair situations and others. Automotive fraud is a very broad area. There are lots of different types of auto fraud, and the defendants include insurance companies, car dealers, car manufacturers, extended warranty companies, service contract companies and car finance companies. My office has also handled auto fraud cases against boat manufacturers and boat dealers.

Q: What can I expect if I file an automotive fraud lawsuit?
A: Auto fraud cases tend to be more lucrative for both consumer and attorney, if they can be proved. Juries and judges alike do not take kindly to fraudulent concealments of serious defects with vehicles or other major consumer items. Such defects can also pose grave dangers to the vehicle owners, since the vehicles are now not as safe as designed by the manufacturer.