Buying a car can be a challenging and exciting process. To ensure they are not taken advantage of, consumers should be familiar with the different types of auto dealer fraud and the protections against auto dealer fraud.
Types of auto dealer fraud
There are several different types of auto dealer fraud including:
- Improperly inflating a vehicle’s invoice price – the invoice is the amount the auto dealer was charged for the vehicle by the manufacturer. Adding charges to the invoice price that were included in the original invoice can be improper.
- Bait and switch tactics – luring customers in with the vehicle price but the vehicle is no longer available and then subjecting the consumer to aggressive selling tactics can be improper.
- Concealing add-ons – it can be improper for the auto dealer to conceal add-ons during the negotiation process and then include them in the final vehicle price.
- Undervaluing a vehicle trade in – undervaluing the consumer’s vehicle trade-in can also be improper.
- New dealer returns – selling a vehicle that has been returned, such as a dealer return, for a defect or persistent mechanical problems may violate lemon laws.
- Salvaged or flood-damaged cars – selling a salvaged or flood-damaged vehicle without disclosing the vehicle’s condition can be improper or illegal.
- Odometer roll back – rolling back a vehicle’s odometer to conceal its true mileage can be improper or illegal.
There are other forms of possible auto dealer fraud and it is important for consumers who are planning on buying a car to be familiar with. Consumer protection laws can help protect car buyers who should also be aware of the protections available.