Auto Dealer Fraud in Georgia
There are many types of auto fraud that may occur during the purchase of a vehicle by a Georgia consumer. Some of these include but are not limited to;
Odometer Fraud– the mileage that is showing on the odometer of the vehicle at the time of purchase determines the condition and value. The issue of possible fraud comes into play if;
- the odometer has been disconnected or turned back.
- the vehicle’s mileage was misrepresented to you.
Prior Damage or Salvaged, Wrecked Vehicles – some Georgia Automobile dealers will sell poorly rebuilt, wrecked or salvaged vehicles, which may turn out to be unfit or hazardous to drive or are priced too high for the condition they are actually in. The majority of these vehicles were involved in accidents or floods. Though their appearance on the outside is good, they may have steering or engine problems, defective brakes, poorly welded parts and general bad handling issues.
– It is the responsibility of the selling dealer to inform you before purchase if the car has, to their knowledge, a “salvage title” or has been involved in an accident.
Be certain to inspect the vehicle thoroughly if you intend to take it home. Look for the following;
- Even matching of paint on the outside and inside of the door frame.
- The parts of the car should line up with each other and the spaces between the hood and trunk and around the doors are straight.
- flood damage is fairly evident in certain vehicles by the presence of mud or dirt under the mat in the trunk, or moisture under the seats or inside the trunk or hood. There may also be watermarks inside the doors.
- if the car has an out of state title, it may have been moved to another state due to its extensive damage.
Misrepresentation of Vehicle History
A car dealer in Georgia is not allowed to withhold information about the condition of the vehicle at the time of purchase. No buyer wants to find out about damage to their new car after they have assumed possession and the car is in their driveway. Whether your vehicle was involved in an accident, holds a salvage title, or was flood damaged, Georgia’s consumer fraud laws protect you, – you have the right to know the history of your vehicle prior to purchase and cannot be misled.
“Executive Driven” Or Rental Vehicle
Another common fraud practice that may be used by car dealers is attempting to sell vehicles that were used previously as rental cars and claiming these were “executive driven”. The consumer purchases the vehicle, believing that only one owner drove and owned it. Later, extensive problems may surface, some of which are due to excessive wear and tear caused by many different drivers having driven and used the vehicle.
Bait and Switch
An auto dealer may run an advertisement in the newspaper, radio, television or on the internet, promoting a specially priced vehicle that will be sold with specific features and at a reduced or low price, when this particular deal doesn’t exist. The vehicle may be priced too low for the features included. Instead, the consumer arrives at the auto dealership hoping to purchase the advertised vehicle and is told those are sold out, but another vehicle with the same features and more is “just a little bit more money”, thus tricking the consumer to bring them into the showroom.
Auto Financing Scams
“Spot Delivery” aka “Yo-Yo Deal”
Auto dealers attempt to trick the consumer with a low credit score into taking the vehicle home right away, then calling back a few weeks later to tell you that the loan fell through because you didn’t qualify for the interest rate that you thought was guaranteed. You must now go back to the dealership to rework the financing. At this point, be prepared to pay a much higher interest rate and monthly payment of course!
The sad fact is that the auto dealership knew exactly what interest rate you qualified for and how large a loan you could get when they let you take the car home. If the dealer had been upfront with you at that point in time, the figured you would either purchase a less expensive car or decide not to get a car at all, based on the high APR/monthly payment. Thus, you are sold the car under false pretenses, but the dealership makes the sale and you are stuck with it as paperwork has been signed. This is a violation of Georgia’s Auto Fraud Laws, contact a Georgia Consumer Protection Attorney today.
This type of auto financing fraud occurs in a transaction that includes a trade-in vehicle. An automobile dealership customer is led to believe that the dealership is valuing the trade-in vehicle at the same amount that’s owed. Thus, the customer doesn’t appear to owe anything on the trade-in. The truth is however, that the actual cash value given by the dealership is less than the amount owed. Then, the difference is added to the cash price of the vehicle being purchased.