Auto Dealer Fraud
Auto dealer fraud occurs when an automobile seller uses deceptive or unlawful practices to sell a vehicle to an unsuspecting consumer. This type of fraud can occur at almost any stage of the purchase process, from advertising to negotiation. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for a disgruntled customer to falsely assert that he or she was the victim of auto dealer fraud, which can have devastating consequences for dealers who may suffer irreparable harm to their reputations. If you live in south Florida and have been accused of auto dealer fraud, it is crucial to retain an experienced white collar crime attorney who may be able to help you get the charges reduced or even dismissed.
Forms of Auto Dealer Fraud
There are a variety of different types of auto dealer fraud, although the most common include:
- Failing to disclose past damage from an accident;
- Falsely stating that a person leasing a car will own it once the payments are completed;
- Falsely selling a used vehicle as new;
- Inflating a car’s purchase price, so that the total price is higher than the sticker price by concealing options not requested by the purchaser or including undisclosed fees;
- Misrepresenting the total mileage on a used vehicle;
- Representing that a vehicle has features or options that it does not have;
- Undervaluing a consumer’s trade-in vehicle; and
- Withholding material information about a vehicle.
Dealers can avoid even the appearance of fraud by taking specific steps, including:
- Insisting on a test drive;
- Refraining from using aggressive sales tactics;
- Insisting on a full visual inspection of a car;
- Allowing a purchaser to have a mechanic inspect the vehicle; and
- Providing a repair history if selling a used car.
Dealers should also be careful to comply with the used car rule that was put in place by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). According to this rule, used car dealers must provide specific information to consumers. For instance, dealers must post a note in the window of all used vehicles with specific information on it, including:
- The dealer’s name and contact information;
- A brief description of the terms of any express warranties on the car;
- An explanation of whether the dealer disclaims any implied warranties; and
- A statement explaining any service contracts.
Taking these steps can go a long way towards protecting dealers from being unfairly accused of fraud.
Call an Experienced White Collar Crime Attorney
If you are being investigated for auto dealer fraud in Miami, please call Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A., Criminal Defense Attorneys at 305-670-9919 to schedule a free one-on-one consultation with an experienced white collar crime attorney.