Under Pennsylvania law, vehicle dealerships must follow a number of laws when they sell you a Used Car/Truck/SUV. These laws often, but not always, focus on a duty to disclose. This duty can be the duty to disclose a Lemon on the title, the fact that your vehicle was previously a rental vehicle, the fact that your vehicle’s transmission was replaced, or the fact that your new vehicle was damaged prior to initial sale. When the dealership fails to follow the law, or deliberately ignores the law, you may have a claim of Auto Fraud. The factual scenarios that give rise to auto fraud cases are almost endless.
Assume for a moment that someone goes to a car dealership to buy a used car. She finds a 2007 Chevy with low mileage. The salesperson tells her that the vehicle is in great condition and will last for years (sound familiar?). She agrees to buy the vehicle for $8,000.00, finances $7,000.00, and drives it off of the lot. An hour later, the check engine light comes on. She immediately takes the vehicle back to the dealer, who refuses to give her money back. She then heads home and orders a CarFax that says her car was in a front end accident two years ago. The dealer may have been required to disclose that to her that before purchase. If he did not do so, he may have committed Auto Fraud.
The factual scenarios that give rise to auto fraud cases are almost endless.
Another common scenario involves the Pennsylvania Lemon Law. We can use the same facts from the previous example. Only this time, when the woman gets home after the dealer refused to give her money back, the CarFax reveals a history showing that the vehicle was previously registered as a Lemon. Pennsylvania law explicitly directs the dealer to disclose this fact before selling the vehicle. Failure to do so is Auto Fraud.
A final common scenario is seen when the woman who bought the 2007 Chevy has to take her car back the dealership multiple
times to have the same problem fixed. For example, when she purchases the car, she is given a warranty. One hour after purchase, the check engine light comes on. She takes it back to the dealership, who tried to fix the problem. Two weeks later, the light comes on again. She takes it back for more repairs.One month later, it comes on again, and so on. This can often be evidence of issues that existed prior to the purchase. If she can prove that the dealership knew, or should have known, about this problem, the dealership may have committed Auto Fraud.
Other scenarios that may give rise to an Auto Fraud claim:
- Sales or loans for vehicles with undisclosed flood damage, fire damage or accidents
- Sales or loans for vehicles that were not disclosed as being rental vehicles
- Sales or loans for vehicles that have had a transmission replaced that was not disclosed prior to sale
- Spot Delivery or Yo-Yo financing scams
- Failure to provide a title
- Bad Faith Warranty Denials
- Misrepresenting Warranty coverage
- Odometer rollback
- Hiding defects by selling a vehicle AS IS
When determining whether you have a case of Auto Fraud, we have to look at a number of factors. We will need to see your purchase paperwork: the Bill of Sale, Warranty, Odometer Disclosure, Finance Paperwork, etc. We will also need copies of all of your Repair Orders if you took your vehicle to the shop in an effort to fix the problems.We will have to review the facts of your case and a very specific time line. And we will need to see a CarFax or similar report.
If you think you are a victim of Auto Fraud and the vehicle was purchased in western Pennsylvania, give us a call for a no obligation free phone consultation. In most cases, we are able to take your case and you will not have to pay for attorney’s fees. Don’t be a victim, seek justice and give us a call today at (412) 823-8003. If you prefer, send an email to Attorney Greg Artim