PA Dealer Fraud Attorney Serving Philadelphia and Pittsburgh
Although buying or leasing a car can be an exciting experience for everyone, some consumers may become the victims of fraud at the hands of unscrupulous automobile dealers. When auto dealers engage in deceptive and unlawful practices, however, car buyers and lessees are protected by consumer protection laws. If you have been the victim of auto dealer fraud, it takes an experienced attorney to enforce your rights.
Timothy Abeel & Associates, P.C. routinely handles automobile dealer fraud cases in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. We are well versed in the applicable state consumer fraud laws and have a proven track of pursuing successful claims. If you were the target of fraud by an auto dealer, we can help you recover meaningful compensation.
Common Types of Auto Dealer Fraud
Auto dealer fraud can occur at any phase of the vehicle purchasing or leasing process, from pre-sale advertising to price and financing negotiations. Some of the more common types of auto dealer fraud include:
- Inflating the Invoice Price – This price is the amount that manufacturers charge auto dealers for a vehicle. Some dealers improperly inflate the invoice price by making additions to the figure for charges that were originally included such as “destination charges.”
- Bait and Switch – This is a form of deceptive or false advertising that involves a dealer enticing a customer to come to a showroom by advertising a vehicle at a certain price, claiming the car is no longer available, and then aggressively trying to sell the buyer a more expensive car. A bait and switch may also occur when a dealer tries to sell an advertised vehicle at a higher price.
- “Add-On” Concealment – This occurs when a dealer fails to disclose certain optional “add-ons,” such as warranties and prepaid service and maintenance programs, or the cost of these add-ons, during negotiations but then includes them in the final price.
- Car Misrepresentations – This can involve a dealer attempting to sell a vehicle as “new” when it has actually been returned due to a defect, mechanical problem, or for some other reason, shortly after the original purchase.
- Yo-Yo Financing – This occurs when an auto dealer tells the consumer a credit application has been approved at set terms, after a down payment is made. After the buyer takes the car home, the dealer calls a week or more later telling the consumer there was a problem and the loan was not approved. The dealer will then try to force the consumer to sign a new contract with less favorable terms and at a higher interest rate.
- Prior Accidents/Flood Damage – Occurs in used car sales when a dealer fails to disclose that a vehicle was designated as salvaged after an accident or has been damaged in a flood.
Odometer Fraud – Used car dealers often “rollback” odometers to conceal the vehicle’s actual mileage.
- Other Types of Auto Dealer Fraud – Includes tactics such as backdating, certified vehicle misrepresentations, negative equity nondisclosure, odometer rollbacks and failure to provide paperwork.
How to Avoid Auto Dealer Fraud
There are a number of steps the consumers can take to avoid auto dealer fraud, starting with becoming informed by researching prospective cars and dealerships. It is also important to read and understand any documents when purchasing or leasing a vehicle. Nonetheless, even the most savvy consumer can be taken advantage of by an aggressive auto dealer, which makes having proper legal representation indispensable.
Remedies for Auto Dealer Fraud
If you have been the victim of auto dealer fraud in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, you have powerful under state consumer fraud laws to enforce your rights. At Timothy Abeel & Associates, our experienced attorneys can help you navigate the legal process.
Before taking legal action, it may be possible to contact the dealer in writing and demand that the dealer correct the problem. If the dealer fails or refuses to correct the problem, it may also be helpful to to notify the state division of consumer affairs, especially because auto dealers that engage in fraud usually have a history of deceptive practices.
In any event, our experienced attorneys have the knowledge and skill to pursue a lawsuit on your behalf under all applicable state and federal laws. We will conduct a thorough evaluation of all the facts of your case and explain all of your options. Depending on the circumstances, 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. It is important to note that you will not pay any attorneys fees unless your claim is successful.
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 engage in deceptive and unlawful practices must be held accountable. We have extensive experience in all aspects of consumer law and a well earned reputation for successfully fighting for our clients’ rights. If you or someone you know has been the victim of auto dealer fraud, call our office today for a free consultation or complete the contact form on our website.