What Is Dealer Fraud?

Buying a new vehicle can be a terrible headache, especially since dealers have such a bad reputation. It’d be nice if we could just get in and out without having to barter for a price or find the right financing option when buying the right car. Unfortunately, that isn’t the way things work. Dealer fraud is alive and well, and too few people know the signs to watch for when they walk through the front door. But what exactly is dealer fraud?

Dealers will likely use a number of uncouth tactics to seal you into a deal as quickly as possible. Dealer fraud encompasses a number of unlawful strategies, including financing options, advertising, negotiation, and exaggerated prices.

One tactic that dealers will use is the classic bait and switch. In this scenario, a dealer will advertise for a car that isn’t actually available. When you show up to purchase that car, the dealer will hit you over the head with a more expensive vehicle.

Another tactic takes the form of a mileage rollback. In this scenario, a car dealer will illegally alter the numbers displayed on a vehicle’s odometer in order to make it look less used than it actually is.

These days, it’s not difficult to find a full car history online. This can be especially beneficial since dealers are usually legally obligated to provide a full accounting of any serious damage that was incurred during a pre-owned vehicle’s lifespan. Considering how many vehicles were damaged in flooding during the 2017 hurricane season, this is even more important.

The good news is this: you have the right to sue if you encounter dealer fraud during your search for a new vehicle. The problem is knowing what to look for, and most people don’t. When you start the search for a new car, be sure to research whether or not the dealer selling you your car is rated highly. On top of that, try to find a history of the car you want. This will help you avoid any unwanted surprises when it comes time to make the final purchase.