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We handle cases across the United States. Allen Stewart is licensed to practice law in Texas, California, New York, Pennsylvania, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio and Arizona.

Ways to spot common car dealer frauds

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Car shopping can be fun and exciting. However, it has a good chance of being frustrating as well. If you are about to head out to buy a new vehicle, prepare yourself for potential scams. Knowing what could be done makes it less likely you will get stuck with a lemon. The process to get an issue resolved when you have a lemon vehicle can be lengthy and stressful. Avoid this when you can.

Reliable vehicles are important, and while 150000 vehicles a year are sold that are lemons, there are plenty of vehicles sold that are in good shape and trustworthy for their new owners.

Below, we discuss a few of the most common scams and the common ways to identify them before you get saddled with a lemon.

Odometer Tampering

This has been a popular tactic to get more profit from selling a vehicle. With older models, the tampering could be identified by marks in the dash display. However, today’s tampering is done with software and devices. It is wise to check the vehicle history against current mileage displayed. Previous maintenance records are a good way to make sure that the mileage is where it should be. This helps you avoid this particular tactic.

Bait and Switch

One common tactic for car sales is to present a deal you can’t say no to, typically via television or print ads. Then, when potential buyers visit the auto dealer, they tell you that the vehicle was already sold.

For more information on arbitration and other frequently asked Odemeter tampering questions, click here.

Typically, that vehicle was never available – particularly not at that price. However, it is a tactic to draw in potential customers. Once you are on the lot, it is harder to say no, even if the vehicle is out of your price range.

Keep Track of Service Records

This one relates to your current vehicle. Make sure to check all documentation after a visit to the service department. Sometimes, if something like the mileage is recorded incorrectly, that can have an impact on efforts to sell your car at a future date.

Carfax carefully keeps track of mileage and that record is one that potential buyers check carefully (take note, you should be checking the Carfax as well).

Keep Your Keys

Some dealerships opt for the method of taking your keys to evaluate your vehicle for trade. Then, even if you aren’t interested in vehicles on the lot, they keep your keys and try to prevent you from leaving without a sale.

Make sure to have them evaluate your vehicle without giving them your keys. That way, you stay in total control of when you leave at all times. You can always turn over the keys later – if you do decide there’s a vehicle worth your interest and in your price range on the lot.

How do get a certified car fraud lawyer? Contact Allen Stewart today.

Hidden Charges

If the vehicle is in good shape, you still might get put on the hook for fees or “upgrades” during the signing process. Some dealerships convince you that there are necessary upgrades or services that you have to pay for, which they will add to the overall price.

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Ask questions about any additional fees you see added to the paper, before you sign. It can save you significant money.

GAP and Extended Warranty Paid for but Not Purchased

A common tactic for salesmen is to tell you that the bank requires you to buy GAP insurance, a vehicle service contract, or an extended warranty plan. The truth is that typically, these simply pad the commission the salesman is hoping to receive. With this in mind, make sure to turn down these options and don’t fall for the bank requiring them for the sale.

Selling a Car Without a Title

Some dealers attempt to sell a car that they do not have the title for yet. This means the buyer can’t register the car, and it sets them up for a lot of expense and hassle. Make sure the dealer has the title for the vehicle you are interested in buying. Otherwise, you will be spending money on a lawyer to help you resolve the situation you end up in.

Are you a victim of car dealer fraud? Contact Allen Stewart today.

Tips to Avoid These Scams

First, have a reliable mechanic you can take a vehicle to, and have them evaluate it separately from what the dealership tells you about the vehicle. Next, make sure to do your own research (such as reading this article). Know your trade-in and the fair market value of said vehicle. Next, negotiate the overall price – not the monthly payment. If you negotiate by monthly payment, that leaves a lot of wiggle room for the salesman to add to the price with those extra fees we talked about above.

Another way to avoid these potential scams is to get all offers and promises in writing. This helps cut down on the surprise additions to the paperwork. Also, keep in mind that your best weapon is the ability to walk away when the deal doesn’t suit you. Make sure to keep this in mind at all times.

In Case You End Up With a Lemon

Vehicle buyers in Texas have the reassurance of the Texas lemon law to back them up – in case all of your preparation is not successful. Some lemons don’t present issues until you have had the vehicle in your possession for some time. In this case, it helps to know the ins and outs of the Texas lemon law.

A lemon law attorney can be a valuable resource at this time. However, to help you get started figuring out your eligibility under this law, consider the following:

If you think you have been a victim of odometer tampering, contact Allen Stewart. The consultation is free.

  • Your vehicle is a car, truck, SUV, minivan, motorcycle, or an electric vehicle. These are specifically covered under the lemon law in Texas.
  • The vehicle is covered by an original warranty from the dealer or manufacturer.
  • The defect causes a significant decrease in the vehicle’s value AND it puts the lives of those riding in the vehicle at risk because of the significance of the defect.
  • The vehicle sits idle for 30 days or more (not consecutively) in the first 24 months or 24,000 miles in the auto buyer’s possession.
  • The vehicle is taken in for service four or more times during the first 24 months or 24,000 miles of the auto buyer’s possession.

Your lemon law lawyer can help you with the process of filing a lemon law complaint, as well as gathering all necessary documentation for the process. It is important to let the manufacturer know that there is a defect and give them a reasonable amount of time to help address the issue before you file. Consult a professional to help you do this in a way that can be confirmed during the complaint process.

Owning a lemon can be a hassle, but it doesn’t have to be a hassle that puts you out of money. Consult a lemon law attorneyand get the help you need to get back on track with your vehicle ownership.

If the lemon law complaint is found in your favor, then you have the potential to have the vehicle repaired at someone else’s expense, replaced or at least repurchased to allow you to buy another vehicle – one that runs reliably and does not put your life at risk every time you hop behind the wheel.

This information brought to you by Allen Stewart P.C.

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