The process of getting a new car can be quite the lengthy task. We spend weeks, looking through vehicle catalogues and spontaneously stopping at car dealerships on our way home, trying to find the perfect car. Whilst doing all of this, often, the last thing on our minds is ‘I could be getting scammed’.
If you believe that you may be the victim of car dealer fraud, you do have options. From civil to criminal liability, and some administrative options, victims of car dealer fraud can and should fight back against unscrupulous dealers.
Contact the Dealer
It may seem obvious, but the first thing you should do if you believe you have been misled by a dealership is to contact the dealer. In fact, many states mandate that you notify the dealer first and provide it with an opportunity to correct the situation. It is entirely possible that the fault you have found in the vehicle may have been unknown to the dealer at the time of the sale, and legitimate dealers may be willing to correct the problem.
Contact Government Agencies
If, after speaking with the dealer, your situation is still not resolved, you may want to contact government agencies. Many countries have government programs designed to monitor and regulate car dealers. A complaint to the correct agency could cause the initiation of an investigation into the dealer’s practices, government orders requiring the dealer to correct the situation, or the dealer could lose its license to sell vehicles in that country or face other consequences.
As a bonus, availing yourself of these services does not cost you anything, as they are government run programs.
Private Legal Action
If you have exhausted your other options, it may be time to consider pursuing a private legal action. You may have claims for things like breach of contract, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and a host of government specific statutory claims.
A claim for fraud would involve establishing that the dealer intentionally misled you to induce your purchase. If the misrepresentation was accidental, that could be a negligent misrepresentation. If the dealer included guarantees or offered to sell something different than what you ultimately received, you may be able to establish that the dealer failed to satisfy its obligations under the sales contract.