Auto dealerships source used vehicles in a variety of different ways. Sometimes, they receive trade-ins from those buying new vehicles. Other times, they purchase vehicles at auction. Some of those vehicles may have originally been part of a rental fleet.
A company may have allowed individuals or businesses to pay a rental rate for temporary access to those vehicles. Yet, some professionals working at dealerships may not disclose the full history of a vehicle to a prospective buyer if they think it will undermine their interest in the vehicle or reduce how much they would pay for it.
Someone who purchases a rental vehicle without knowing it may pay more than they otherwise would and could face an assortment of challenges in the future. What are the risks associated with purchasing rental fleet vehicles?
Major wear and tear
Someone driving their own vehicle is often cautious because they don’t want to damage the brakes, shocks or other systems through aggressive or irresponsible driving. Vehicles regularly driven by rental customers are more likely than single-owner vehicles to have wear and tear that degrades the overall safety and longevity of the vehicle.
The possible presence of contraband
People sometimes use rental vehicles to help hide their identity when they engage in criminal behavior. Those selling or trafficking drugs, for example, may rent a vehicle to prevent police officers from noticing their unusual behavior or identifying them as the driver. The possibility exists for someone who purchases a rental fleet vehicle to end up facing criminal charges over something illegal that police officers find when searching the vehicle that the new owner did not even know existed.
Significant latent defects
Some issues with a vehicle, like tears in the upholstery, are easy for people to spot when inspecting the vehicle. Other issues, like degraded wiring or failing sensors may only show up during a professional inspection. Buyers might overlook issues when taking a vehicle for a test drive. If they do not know that the vehicle was previously part of a rental fleet, they may not have a mechanic check it before they commit to purchasing it. They may then discover that there are expensive issues they have to pay to repair after they have only had the vehicle for a few months.
A salesperson who misrepresents the background of a vehicle puts a buyer in a position where they cannot make an informed decision. Fighting back against auto dealer fraud, including an undisclosed rental fleet history, could help people reduce the financial impact that such fraud has on their lives.