The auto buying process is time-consuming and can be overwhelming. Your budget, your needs in terms of gas mileage, storage space or capabilities in a variety of weather all can influence your vehicle choice. Meanwhile, it is smart to check into vehicle reviews and buyers’ opinions on a specific model of vehicle as you narrow down your choices.
When you go to purchase a vehicle, it is more likely than not you may be exposed to unethical tactics. Sadly, this is the case in today’s world – as opposed to rare occurrences and a minority of dealers.
“Failure to disclose” is when the dealer neglects to tell you the accident history of the vehicle, any defects they have noticed and have not made effort to resolve or various details related to the miles the vehicle has been driven or the status of the engine or other internal components.
Another way a dealer can commit fraud is by convincing you the financing has gone through and allows you to take the vehicle home. Then, they contact you to say the financing fell through and you need to return the vehicle. If you provide resistance, they convince you as the buyer that you must agree to less favorable terms in order to keep the vehicle you thought you already had financed.
These are two examples but far from the only ways that fraud occurs during the process of purchasing a new vehicle. Keep in mind there are many scams and ways to commit fraud. Being aware of the potential going in is a good way to help you avoid the many potential fraud scenarios.
So now is the time to prepare for potential auto fraud. As a victim, you have options. It is good to be aware of them from the beginning. This can open doors that you might not recognize as opportunity otherwise.
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Contacting the dealer may seem useless, but in fact some dealers work to make good on issues with vehicles to avoid lemon law cases or dealing with legal ramifications. They might offer to have their mechanics address the problem or at least look into replacing or repurchasing the vehicle from you. They are the best place to start, regardless of whether they do anything or not, because with certain legal processes, this is a requirement to complete.
Talking to a manager may seem like common sense, but it is worthwhile to note here that you should make sure to talk to a manager when calling with a complaint or concern. Some of the employees at a dealership may not be qualified to provide possible solutions. An individual in a management position has a better idea of the way to resolve problems or offers they can make to unhappy customers.
You should also contact appropriate state agencies. The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles has a special Lemon Law complaint department. If you feel you have been saddled with a lemon, that is an ideal place to start.
If you think you have been a victim of auto fraud, contact Allen Stewart. The consultation is free.
If the auto fraud falls into a different category, this still might be a case for the Texas DMV or, barring that, other agencies that oversee the manufacture and/or sale of products within the state. It pays to look into what agencies exist and what topics they handle.
The state’s Attorney General may be aware of less than ethical practices at the dealer where you purchased your defective vehicle. If this is the case, they may be able to direct you to legal representation that is already aware of problems. Barring that, they can at least let you know what options are available in the state if you have a problem vehicle that you purchased from someone who engaged in auto fraud.
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If the Lemon Law will not help you deal with the situation, then it is time to consult a legal professional and determine if there are other paths to take that include legal action. For breach of contract, fraud or negligence, the state may have a way to address the problem. Likewise, if you can provide proof the dealer intentionally misled you or if they pulled one of the most common schemes, like bait and switch – resolution may be found in your favor if you pursue things through legal channels.
If the vehicle is covered under warranty, then there are several ways to make sure the issue is addressed. Take comfort in knowing that the answer is a matter of researching, contacting the necessary parties and possibly retaining counsel experienced in the area you need.
Fare you a victim of auto fraud? Contact Allen Stewart today.
Working your way through the legal process if you have been a victim of auto fraud, it can be challenging to understand when you might need legal representation. First, if you have provable economic impact from the vehicle – as in costs related to accidents that were unavoidable or time missed at work because the vehicle was inoperable, that is the time to contact a legal professional.
Likewise, if you have suspicion that this dealer does this regularly and there are multiple victims, it is smart to find a lawyer. This is where the conversation with the AG comes in handy, as they may direct you to a lawyer with other clients who have a similar concern. The more you get together to prove the issue, the better chances of resolution with the dealer and/or manufacturer in question.
The state of Texas does have a Lemon Law. If your vehicle is covered by original warranties from the dealer, and the defect not only significantly impacts the value of the vehicle but also puts the driver and/or passengers at risk when driven, then chances are you are covered under this law.
Lemon laws are confusing. Read our guide to the lemon law process.
Cars, trucks, motorcycles, electric cars, RVs and Towable Recreational vehicles are all covered under this law. This is provided they are covered under original warranty – whether they were purchased new or used from a dealer or an auto sales lot.
The Lemon Law process begins with filing a complaint and paying the related fee. This can be done online or with a visit to a Texas DMV office. The special department there will assign someone to the case, and there will be a mediation scheduled. If the two parties do not come to an agreement during that meeting, then a hearing is scheduled in front of an examiner. That individual hears evidence from both sides. Following the hearing, the examiner has 60 days to provide a verdict. If the case is found in the auto owner’s favor, than the examiner orders the manufacturer to either repurchase, repair or replace the vehicle with one of comparable value.
The process is less time-consuming than a fight in a court of law. However, a good way to make sure success is a potential outcome is to contact a lemon law lawyer and have them help you gather the evidence necessary and move through the process in a smooth and timely manner. The world of auto fraud and lemon vehicles does not have to be confusing or time consuming.