Buying a vehicle can be a stressful and lengthy process. Add in the fact that car dealers are far more interested in making a profit than making sure your best interests are taken into account, and the process becomes even more stressful. There are many types of car dealer fraud that you can fall victim to, and it is a good idea to research these potential scams and be prepared when you go shopping for a new or used vehicle.
Digital odometers are easy to manipulate – thanks to today’s technology and the devices available. If you are shopping for a new vehicle, then it is a good idea to check maintenance records and the vehicle title and compare the mileage. These documents will give a better idea of whether the current mileage is accurate or not.
Lower miles are a high selling point for any potential auto buyer. However, the truth is that this is a dangerous criteria to base your purchase on, since it is so easily manipulated. Make sure to evaluate a vehicle based on several factors, not just the mileage.
Also, it is smart to consider the wear on the tires, the pedals and areas like the floor mats. If these show significant wear but the mileage is low, it is a good sign that the odometer might be tampered with.
Some vehicles that have been caught in floodwaters can be salvaged. However, they must have records of this situation on their Carfax. This is why it is important to check with reports like this to determine the accidents the vehicle has been in as well as any concerns about the vehicle’s components.
For more information on arbitration and other frequently asked car dealer fraud questions, click here.
Check over any vehicle you are interested in buying carefully. Preferably, take it for a test drive and have a trusted mechanic take a look as well. It is important to protect your own interests and not trust the car dealer. Their focus is to make money and not to sell you a safe and reliable vehicle.
The bait and switch is a common sales tactic, where a vehicle with low mileage and a great price is advertised on television or in the media. Interested consumers visit the dealership, only to be told that the vehicle was sold. Then, they attempt to sell you another vehicle. However, chances are that vehicle was never available to begin with.
The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles oversees the Texas lemon law. This law protects an auto owner who purchases a new vehicle from the dealer and manufacturer if the vehicle is covered under warranty from said vendor. If a used vehicle is still covered under the original warranty from the dealer or manufacturer, that vehicle is also covered under the Texas lemon law.
How do get a certified car fraud lawyer?Contact Allen Stewart today.
However, the vehicle must be covered under the original warranty and also within the first 24 months of ownership or 24,000 miles driven when the vehicle owner discovers the defect. If these timeframes are still in effect – or if you have been dealing with the defect and it is still within six months of the first of those two milestones, you can still notify the manufacturer and begin the complaint process for coverage under the Texas lemon law.
A variety of vehicles are covered under the lemon law. This includes cars, trucks, SUVs, vans, RVs and Towable Recreational Vehicles (TRVs). Electric vehicles are also covered under the lemon law. Farm equipment, boat trailers and lawn tractors are among the types of items not covered under the lemon law in Texas.
However, in order to be considered a lemon, the vehicle must pass certain tests. The first is the magnitude of the defect. Is there a significant loss in value due to the defect? Does it make the vehicle unreliable and – most importantly – does driving the vehicle with the current defect put your life or the lives of your passengers at risk?
Image Source : https://pxhere.com/nl/photo/539299
Have you taken the vehicle to a mechanic four or more times – all for the SAME issue, which is clearly outlined in the service report – to no avail? If this is the case, the vehicle passes the four times test, a set criteria to be considered a lemon under the Texas lemon law.
Finally, has the vehicle sat idle for 30 days or more (not necessarily in a row) during the time you have owned it? Note: if there was a loaner vehicle provided for any of these days, they don’t count toward the 30-day total.
Are you a victim of car dealer fraud? Contact Allen Stewart today.
All of these tests must be passed during the first 24 months of ownership or the first 24,000 miles driven. In addition, you must reach out to the dealer or manufacturer (preferably in a way that can be traced and proven) during the same timeframe or within six months after you reach the milestone in your vehicle ownership. This way, they are made aware and given the chance to make it right on their own. If they do not, then the next logical step is to file a complaint and get restitution in this manner
The complaint process can be initiated by filing online through the Texas DMV website. There is a filing fee. Once that complaint is filed, then a staff member of a special department at the Texas DMV looks at the case. These individuals are responsible for the oversight of all Texas lemon law cases.
The first step in addressing lemon law complaints is to schedule a mediation between the auto owner and the dealer or manufacturer. At this point, it is wise to have already consulted your lemon law attorney, as they can be vital to ensuring the manufacturer does not convince you to drop the case or to agree to conditions that are not ideal and not beneficial to you as the auto owner.
Following mediation, a hearing is scheduled with an examiner, who hears from both parties in the case. That individual then has 60 days to provide a written decision. That decision can be appealed by either party if they are not satisfied.
If you think you have been a victim of odometer fraud, contact Allen Stewart. The consultation is free.
For a vehicle owner who has the case fall in their favor, there are three options for restitution. In the case of repair, the vehicle is repaired at the expense of the manufacturer or dealer. They may also be required to cover previous repair fees that were paid despite failure to resolve the defect with the vehicle.
The next option is repurchase, where the vehicle is repurchased by the manufacturer, with consideration given for the miles driven and any payments made on the vehicle to this point.
The third option is replacement, where a replacement vehicle is provided by the manufacturer, again with consideration for the vehicle’s total miles and any payments made on the vehicle. Previous repair bills may factor into these options as well; this is dependent on the purview of the examiner.
Vehicle owners can rest assured that any vehicle purchased within the borders of the state of Texas that is found to be a lemon will be covered, based on the above criteria. Don’t let your new vehicle become an expensive lawn ornament. Get in touch with an experienced lemon law attorney today.