What to Do if Scammed by a Car Dealership – A Short Guide

August 17, 2020Car Tips and Tricks
Eva Johnson

Digital nomad born in New York but currently living online, Eva knows everything there is to know about packing and moving.

Purchasing an auto is one of the most significant investments you can make. That’s why a buyers’ common concern is what to do if scammed by a car dealership. The ideal situation is to find a trustworthy sales associate who will offer you an automobile that’s operative, safe, and suits all your needs. Unfortunately, you never know what could happen, so it’s best to be aware of all sorts of scams that can occur and how to deal with them.

Imposed Warranty, Trade-In Fraud, and Other Dealership Scams

Buying and driving cars is something Americans like to do. Thousands of vehicles are being purchased every year. Though most of the dealers are entirely professional and do their job by the book, there are bad examples.

Leave the Dealership, and Cancel Everything If You Sense a Fraud: These Are the Most Common

Sales associates will use different tricks to convince you to buy a car. Here’s the list of the most common:

  • Irregularities regarding the vehicle price – You’ve decided to purchase a car, so the salesperson gives you a price estimate. You accept the deal, but when you come to sign a contract, you see a price that’s not what you were told in the first place. If you also notice charges for services such as warranty, options, and accessories you did not ask for—stop right there because you are most likely close to becoming a victim of a scam. To avoid it, you should try to clear the misunderstanding, but if it does not work, you should leave the dealership.
  • When a salesman offers you “lemons,” walk away – Everybody needs tips for buying a used car because you have to be extra careful, and avoid cars known as lemons. Those are the vehicles returned to the manufacturer due to various repair problems as well as four-wheelers that were demolished. Bear in mind that before buying a used car, you should ask for the repair and registration records, take it for a test drive, and ask a mechanic to do a check-up.
  • A financial scam – Those who are not familiar with their financial score may quickly fall victim to a dealership scam. A salesperson who wants to sell you a car on a high-interest rate will convince you that it is the best solution for you because your credit score is terrible, and you are not qualified to purchase a vehicle on a low-interest rate. To avoid this scam, consider getting a copy of your credit report, so you always know your credit score.
  • The importance of understanding the term Leasing – There is a difference between terms buying and leasing. When you buy a car, you’ve finished with all the payments, and now you own it. On the other hand, leasing refers to a period during which you make monthly payments on the four-wheeler, but you don’t own it at the end of that period. Scams happen when customers are convinced that they are purchasing a vehicle while the truth is that they are leasing it.
  • Trade-in scam – Those who are thinking about trading their old car should first get informed about its value. In some cases, people get in touch with dealers who convince them that their car can be sold for a much lower price than its real value, so they agree to that.
four wheeler on the street
Many salespeople use tricks to convince people to buy cars.

What to Do If Scammed by a Car Dealership? Try Contacting a Dealer

Once you discover that something’s wrong with your vehicle, you should contact a dealer. Try to explain the problem and ask him or her to find a way to resolve it. Don’t argue because your goal is to have an operative four-wheeler that’s safe and suitable for your needs. Legitimate dealers will do their best to resolve the problem and, if necessary, offer free services to put your vehicle into the right condition.

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No Responses From a Dealer? Contact an Attorney

In case you don’t get a response from a salesperson, do not hesitate to contact a dealer attorney. Your legal representative will evaluate the situation and will help you understand your rights as a customer. The attorney will explain what you can expect from the lawsuit and help you fill out the forms correctly.

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When you notice a problem or irregularity, contact a person who sold you a car, or talk to an attorney.

Filing a Claim for a Scam Is One of the Most Important Moves

Though it might seem complicated, a procedure of filing a complaint against a salesperson includes a few simple steps. First, you need to fill an online K-35 Consumer Complaint Form, to print two copies and sign them. One of the copies should be sent to the DMV Consumer Complaint Center, while the other goes to the person you are filing a complaint against. Make sure to provide an email address and phone number to contact you.

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One of the most important steps is to file a claim against a person who sold you a car.

State Agencies Are Another Option

Many government bodies regulate and monitor car dealers. An agency you file a complaint to can initiate an investigation. As a result, a sales associate can be ordered to resolve the problem, or he or she could face different consequences and even lose a license to sell cars.

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State agencies can help you resolve problems regarding suspicious car deals.

The Fraud Is Proven? You May Be Allowed, Among Other Things, to Cancel Loan Obligations

When fraud is proven and depending on the circumstances, a customer may be allowed to return a vehicle. Getting a refund for all previous payments is also possible. A customer may be entitled to cancel all loan obligations and even receive punitive damages.

stack of money
When you prove that you've been scammed, authorities may allow you to cancel all loan obligations.

Never Be Afraid Of Claiming Your Rights

As a customer, you have the right to file a claim whenever you feel that you’ve been scammed. Buying a car is a serious purchase, and if irregularities occur, you need to contact a salesman whose obligation is to resolve it. In case you don’t receive an answer from a salesperson, you can always turn to existing laws that can help you defend your rights.

You Dodged the Scammers and Are Ready to Ship Your New Car?

On the other hand, those who are satisfied with the purchase, but are planning to move and want to ensure the safe transport of their automobile, should consider contacting a reliable company that offers auto transport services. Professional shippers will help you choose the cheapest way to ship a car and explain how to prepare a car for shipping. They will also tell you the difference between an enclosed and open trailer and advise on what option is best for you.

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