What is Auto Fraud?

If you are a victem of Auto Dealer Fraud we can help

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BEFORE THE SALE:

 

Prior Accident History

Some dealers specialize in selling accident-damaged vehicles. The dealer will run a CarFax on an obviously damaged vehicle. If it is clean, they will buy it, because they know they can show consumers the clean CarFax to “prove” it has never been in an accident. CarFax Vehicle History Reports don't always show the whole story. CarFax can only report history that has been reported to it. If a vehicle is repaired at an auto repair shop that does not report to CarFax, the accident will not be shown on the CarFax. If you suspect that your vehicle has been in an accident, we will run a battery of vehicle history reports, including CarFax, Autocheck, and National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) reports.

Unrepaired Accident Damage

Many accident-damaged vehicles are poorly repaired, or only repaired cosmetically. We have inspected vehicles that seemed to be in good condition but were missing hidden parts such as bumper bars or airbags. It is illegal to sell poorly repaired, unsafe vehicles. If you suspect that your vehicle has been in an accident, or has missing or broken parts, we can help. We will run a battery of vehicle history reports, including CarFax, Autocheck, and National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) reports and help you discover the truth.

Prior Lemon Law Buyback

When a vehicle cannot be repaired by a manufacturer or their dealer, the vehicle must be permanently labeled a “Lemon Law Buyback.” The law requires a dealer to tell all buyers that the vehicle is a "Lemon" before purchase. Dealers never do this because “Lemon” vehicles are worth far less than other vehicles, and usually have chronic mechanical issues. We do not recommend purchasing a prior “Lemon” vehicle. If you suspect your vehicle is a "Lemon," contact us. And usually, have chronic mechanical issues. We do not recommend purchasing a prior “Lemon” vehicle. If you suspect your vehicle is a "Lemon," contact us.

Salvage / Junk / Rebuilt Branded Titles

A dealer must inform you that a vehicle is Salvage/Junk/Rebuilt before you purchase. A vehicle
with “Salvage,” “Junk,” or “Rebuilt” title (“Salvage certificate” in California) means an
insurance company deemed the vehicle a “total loss.” Usually, this means the vehicle was in a
serious accident and sustained damage that would cost more to repair than the value of the
vehicle. Dealers will purchase such vehicles at a Salvage Auction, and repair them as cheaply as
possible. Usually, salvage vehicles have shoddy, cosmetic repairs, with hidden unrepaired
damage or missing parts. We have seen multiple salvage vehicles that were missing airbags and
sensors or suspension parts. One salvage vehicle had large chunks missing from its frame, hidden
by plastic trim pieces. Never buy a Salvage/Junk/Rebuilt vehicle.


Many insurance companies will refuse to insure a Salvage/Junk/Rebuilt vehicle. Many banks
will refuse to finance loans to buy a Salvage/Junk/Rebuilt vehicle. will refuse to finance loans to buy a Salvage/Junk/Rebuilt vehicle.

Theft Recovery Vehicles

Many dealers will advertise a vehicle as a “Theft Recovery.” There is no such thing as a “Theft
Recovery” title - it is a Salvage or Total Loss vehicle. A dealer must inform you that a vehicle is
Salvage/Junk/Rebuilt before you purchase. In some cases, stolen vehicles are taken to a “Chop
Shop.” Easily sellable, high-value items are stripped from the car, including airbags, stereo,
speakers, doors, lights, electrical sensors, etc. If enough parts are stolen, the cost to replace these
items is greater than the value of the vehicle, and the insurance company will deem the vehicle a
“total loss.” In other cases, a stolen vehicle will be taken for a joyride that ended with the vehicle
on fire, or in a river. Bottom Line: if the insurance company deemed the vehicle a total loss,
there is a good reason for it. Dealers make money on “Theft Recovery” vehicles by making
cheap repairs, hiding damage, or selling the vehicle with missing parts. Never buy a
Salvage/Junk/Rebuilt vehicle, even if it was a “Theft Recovery.”


Many insurance companies will refuse to insure a Salvage/Junk/Rebuilt vehicle. Many banks
will refuse to finance loans to buy a Salvage/Junk/Rebuilt vehicle.

Washed Title Vehicles
State motor vehicle department regulations vary greatly from state to state. Some states show “SALVAGE” in large letters, while others will have a small, inconspicuous mark on the title. Some states allow brands such as “Salvage” to be completely removed from a title. Dealers sometimes exploit these differences between states and engage in “Title Washing.” A dealer will move a vehicle from one state to another, and “wash” a branded title clean. The dealer then sells the vehicle without disclosing that it had Salvage, Junk, Rebuilt, Flood, Unrepairable, or other branded title. If a vehicle seems suspicious, we run a battery of vehicle history reports, including CarFax, Autocheck, and National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) reports.

Poor Mechanical Condition
Dealers are very good at detecting whether a vehicle has mechanical problems. Dealers pick up tell-tale signs that transmission or engine is close to failure, and can hide such problems. For instance, if an engine is “ticking,” it signifies that it may need an expensive valve repair. Replacing the engine oil with a thicker oil will quiet the ticking enough to fool an unsuspecting consumer. Shortly after the sale, the consumer is stuck paying for the expensive repair. If a dealer knows about a problem and lies to you about it, they have committed fraud.

Repaired New Cars
New cars travel thousands of miles - by ship, by train, or by truck - before they are delivered to the dealership. New cars can be damaged during the process. If the repairs cost more than $500 or 3% of the vehicle’s value, the dealer is required by law to tell you. Dealers are exempt from voluntarily telling you about repairs that cost less than $500 or 3% of the vehicle’s value. Ask if the dealer made any repairs before you buy a new car. If you ask, the dealer must tell you - even if the repairs are less than the limit. If you suspect that the dealer made repairs that were over the limit, request a copy of the dealership’s pre-sale Repair History.

Odometer Rollback / TMU
A “True Mileage Unknown,” or TMU vehicle has an odometer reading that is inaccurate. Dealers will “Rollback” odometers to increase the value of a vehicle. A 30,000-mile car has much less mechanical wear and tear than a 100,000-mile car. Digital odometers can be rolled back in a few minutes using a computer. Mechanical odometers can be manually rolled back. If an odometer roll-back is detected, the DMV will brand the title to the vehicle “TMU.” This greatly decreases the value of a vehicle because it is impossible to know how much it has been used.
Many insurance companies will refuse to insure a TMU vehicle. Many banks will refuse to finance loans to buy a TMU vehicle.

Bait and Switch Advertising
Dealers will advertise a shockingly low “Sale” price on a car to entice you to visit the dealership. This is the “Bait.” But, when you get there, you are told that you “just missed” the sale priced vehicle, which was sold a half hour ago. Then, the dealer tries to sell you a similar car for a lot more money. This is the “Switch.” Bait and Switch tactics allow a dealer to attract business
without losing money by actually selling at the sale price. These types of business practices are illegal.

Certified Vehicles – Too Good To Be True
Consumers willingly pay thousands of dollars more for a "Certified Pre-Owned" label because they believe the manufacturer had a direct role in the certification process. Many consumers are surprised to discover that manufacturers are not involved in the "Certification" process. Most manufacturers advertise that their "Certified Pre-Owned" programs are "Factory" certified. But, certified vehicles are not sent back to the factory, or inspected by the manufacturer. Instead, certified vehicles are inspected by the dealer, and the dealer pays the manufacturer to certify the vehicle.
The Car Buyer’s Bill of Rights protects consumers from dealers' indiscriminate use of the term “Certified.” If a dealer uses the term “Certified,” or similar terms, it must provide you with a completed inspection report before you buy the vehicle. In addition, a “Certified” Vehicle:


1. Cannot be Salvage, True Mileage Unknown (TMU), a Lemon Law Buyback, Flood, Junk, Nonrepairable, or similar;
2. Cannot be Accident, Fire, or Flood-Damaged;
3. Cannot be Frame Damaged;
4. Cannot be sold “As-Is” - a Certified Vehicle Must Include a No-Charge Warranty

Motorcycle / Jetski / Boat Ads
Motorcycle, Jetski, boat, and watercraft sellers will often advertise a "teaser" payment and term, such as "$99 per month for 24 months." These types of advertisements are often deceptive because they seem to offer a fixed term and a set payment. In fact, the financing takes the form of a high-interest credit card with a "promotional" period. Consumers are rudely surprised when they find their payment has doubled or even tripled after the promotional period ends.

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