Is painting over rust auto dealership fraud?

On Behalf of | Mar 7, 2024 | Auto Dealer Fraud

Consumers who visit a used car lot to purchase a vehicle should ensure they’re still fully checking the history and current condition of any vehicle they’re considering. Certain issues might come up that need to be addressed proactively so that problems don’t arise later.

Unfortunately, taking a used car salesperson at their word isn’t always possible. Auto dealership fraud, which occurs when the dealership or its employees misrepresent a vehicle’s condition, is a very serious problem. For example, in some cases, rust and repaint are major problems that could be construed as dealership fraud.

Why would rust and repaint be an issue?

Rust is sometimes just a cosmetic issue, but it can become a safety issue if the frame or any safety components are rusted and repainted. It should be up to each buyer if they purchase a vehicle that’s been rusted. The dealership should disclose the location of the rust, the extent of it and how it was repaired.

Buyers should have a particularly intense look at certain areas of the vehicle to see if there are signs of rust or repairs. These include:

  • Rust or corrosion around critical lines, such as the brake lines
  • Bolts that have been removed and replaced
  • Paint overspray on plastic components
  • Rust inside interior areas, such as the trunk seams
  • Peeling or uneven paint
  • Unmatched paint
  • Misaligned panels

Automobile dealers are required to report known defects in vehicles in Connecticut. While covering rust with paint might seem like a minor issue, it’s actually very serious. In some cases, such actions may constitute dealership fraud. Legal action might be possible, so anyone who has purchased a used vehicle with rust covered by a dealership may have options available to them that are worth exploring.