Dealer Fraud: Salvaged and Flood Damaged Vehicles

Mar 25, 2020

Auto dealer fraud can occur in any number of ways, particularly when businesses fail to disclose certain information to consumers. If a vehicle has been flood damaged or totaled and the insurance company signed off on a salvage title being issued, for example, this must be disclosed to potential car buyers. But let the buyer beware: there is an active market where totaled vehicles are bought and sold, costing consumers millions of dollars in losses each year.

Timothy Abeel & Associates, P.C. routinely handles car dealer fraud cases in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. We are knowledgeable in applicable state consumer fraud laws and have a proven track of pursuing successful claims. If you purchased a car from a dealer that was salvaged or damaged in a flood, you may be entitled to significant compensation.

What is a salvage title?

After a vehicle has been damaged beyond standard repair, the insurance company will declare the car irreparable and deem it to be totaled. The vehicle is then issued a salvage title so that if the vehicle is sold in the future, there will be a record that it was significantly damaged in an accident or flood. Although a salvage title may be listed on Carfax, dealers are required by state consumer laws to disclose defects of which they are aware.

Nonetheless, some car companies will take these vehicles, repair and resell them for far above their actual value. In order to close the sale, these companies often intentionally fail to disclose the vehicle was damaged beyond standard repair. If the car experiences further damage, the company may be held liable for the consumer’s losses.

Additionally, insurance companies have different standards for salvaging damaged vehicles. This can range from 80 to 90 percent of the cost to repair compare to the actual cash value of the vehicle. If that figure falls below the applicable state threshold requirements, the insurer may not be required to salvage title.  Currently, there are untold numbers of vehicles that have been salvaged and resold without title restrictions in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

In any event, many of these vehicles have not been completely repaired and defects can cause harm to the new owner. That’s the bad news. The goods news it is possible to recover damages by pursuing a consumer fraud lawsuit.

Do I have a claim if I was intentionally sold a car that was flood damaged or totaled?

It is important to note that state laws require businesses to disclose certain facts about vehicles that are sold with a history. If a car has been sold without disclosing that it was flood damaged or totaled, this could be considered fraud. In order to have a valid claim, it is necessary to show that a dealership intentionally and knowingly concealed that a salvage title was issued for the vehicle.

Our experienced consumer fraud attorneys know that the history of vehicles and titles granted are readily available to auto dealerships. Moreover, these companies typically inspect a vehicle before they purchase it, and conduct another inspection when it is resold. In short, auto dealers have a duty of care to disclose salvage titles to customers and can be held accountable for any harm the customer sustains.

If the driver and/or passengers are injured in an accident that was caused by undisclosed defects, the auto dealer can be also held liable in a personal injury lawsuit. In addition, the dealer could face other legal consequences, including fines and revocation of its license to sell cars.

New Jersey and Pennsylvania Auto Dealer Fraud Attorneys

At Timothy Abeel & Associates, we believe that consumers have a right to be treated fairly, and auto dealers who defraud consumers by selling fflood-damagedor totaled vehicles must be held accountable. If you were the victim of this form of fraud, our experienced attorneys have the knowledge and skill to pursue a lawsuit under the applicable state and federal laws.

We will conduct a thorough evaluation of all the facts of your case, seek to have contract voided and help you obtain a refund. In some cases, you may be able to recover damages up to three times the amount of your actual losses, as well as reasonable attorneys fees and costs. All of our cases are handled on a contingency basis which means that you will not pay any attorneys fees unless your claim is successful.

Our legal team is dedicated to protecting the rights of consumers. We have a well reputation for fighting for our clients and will offer you a superior level of personal service. Call our office today for a free consultation or complete the contact form on our website.

Experiencing Similar Issues?

If your car was manufactured between 2018 and 2023 we may be able to help. Contact us for more information.