For many consumers, the purchase of a motor vehicle can be an overwhelming process. Vehicles are an expensive investment; as a result, consumers often have to rely on the trustworthiness of the dealer when investigating the vehicle and ultimately making the purchase. Unfortunately, auto fraud can and does take place. It is important for consumers to understand when fraud has taken place in order to protect their legal rights. Virginia law is clear in how it defines auto fraud, and this article explores some of the more common examples to be aware of if you’re shopping for a car.

Common Examples of Auto Fraud

What are some of the common ways that dealers commit auto fraud? The following are six examples:

  1. The dealer attempts to conceal repairs that were made to a vehicle that had previously been totaled.
  2. The dealer executes a “bait and switch.” This means that the dealer lures the buyer to the dealership by advertising a price for a specific vehicle. When the buyer arrives at the dealership, however, the dealer either sells the consumer a different vehicle or sells the same vehicle to the buyer, but at a higher price.
  3. The dealer misrepresents or attempts to conceal flood damage to the vehicle if asked.
  4. The dealer attempts to conceal or misrepresents prior accidents that occurred involving the vehicle if asked.
  5. The dealer misrepresents to the consumer that the consumer’s financing is approved. Later, after all of the papers have been signed, the dealer tells the consumer that the financing did not go through, and therefore the consumer will have to sign a more expensive contract. This is known as a “yo-yo” sale. The buyer does not have to sign the new contract. If he takes the car back within 24 hours of being contacted by the dealer, the dealer has to give him back his down payment and/or trade-in.
  6. A key factor in the success of these prior wreck cases is proving the dealer knew the vehicle was previously wrecked.

While Virginia has several laws in place designed to protect consumers, there are time limitations imposed on the ability to pursue a claim. For this reason, if you suspect that you are a victim of auto fraud, we encourage you to act quickly by contacting us today at 804-282-7900.