In many cases, when you buy a used car from a dealer, you do so at your own risk. The terms “Buyer beware” and “Sold as is” A Row of Cars at a Car Dealershipbecome very important when you are negotiating with a salesman over the purchase price of a used car about which little is known. Was it ever in an accident? What parts have been replaced? Why was it recently painted? Without a mechanic at your side, you are not likely to be able to answer these questions. Your best bet is to always have a used car inspected by a body shop for accident damage and by a mechanic for mechanical issues.  You should also run a vehicle history report from the Vehicle Identification Number on the car, but beware, a "clean" vehicle history report is no substitute for the inspection by a body shop or mechanic since these databases are often very incomplete.   If the dealer does not allow you to take these actions, do not buy a used car from him.

When You Can Take Legal Action for Fraud

If you have already bought the car and find later that something is wrong with it, you may be able to take action against the car dealer. However, you will have to prove the following:

  • The dealer misrepresented or omitted material facts.

  • You have suffered a financial loss as a result.

  • You would not have purchased the car if you had known about the material facts at issue.

In order to prove these facts, you will need to show that you asked about the condition of the car and that the dealer or salesman denied that there was anything wrong with the car. A witness to this misrepresentation would be very helpful to your case.

What You Could Be Awarded

If you are able to prove misrepresentation, you could be awarded the following:

  • A refund of all payments made toward the purchase.

  • Cancellation of any outstanding loan balances or obligations.

  • Compensation for wrongful repossession of the vehicle, if that occurred.

  • Reimbursement for any repairs or inspections you have paid for.

  • Payment of court costs and legal fees.

  • In cases of especially predatory actions on the part of the dealer, you may be awarded punitive damages as well.

Don’t Waste Your Time Going After the Dealer on Your Own

Buying a used car that you are ultimately unhappy with is not reason enough to charge a dealer with auto fraud. Auto fraud only applies in very specific situations. Dealers hear from unhappy customers on a daily basis and the only way they are going to take a charge of auto fraud seriously is if you come to them with legal representation. John Gayle is an experienced auto fraud attorney and if his review of your claim finds that auto fraud did indeed occur, he will fight the battle for you.


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Kim 08/15/2019 03:32 AM
The information you have provided is excellent! You addressed important areas and it made sense. I wanted to hear more tips and information. Well done. I wish I had seen this months ago but it was still helpful. Thank you!
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