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Consumer Fraud Act and Scams. Auto Fraud, Used Car Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices

If you have been deceived by deceptive business practice and sustained an ascertainable loss as a result of this deceptive business practice you could pursue a claim under the Consumer Fraud Act and receive triple damages plus attorney's fees and costs if you can prove an ascertainable loss.

AUTO SCAMS AND CONSUMER RIGHTS: New Jersey Consumer Lawyer and Consumer Attorney that sues car dealerships for car dealer scams and tricks.


Scam 1 – Lying about the history of the vehicle

The most prevalent scam in the automobile industry is selling a vehicle with pre-existing damage. There are numerous reasons to do this by a selling dealership; however, the most basic reason would be for profit. With this pre-existing damage, a dealer could acquire a vehicle for less, due to the damage, and sell the vehicle for more without disclosing the appropriate amount of the prior damage, prior history or any pertinent information. This claim would be actionable under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and other various claims.

Scam 2 – Selling Damaged Cars/Frame Damage/Accident Damage/Inaccurate History

Another scam, similar to the non-disclosure of prior damage, is non-disclosure of relevant information. As an example, if a prior vehicle was used as a taxi, police car, a rental or some other use which might be relevant from the consumer’s perspective, its history would be required to be disclosed under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act under most circumstances. Thus, dealers are able to acquire vehicles through auction or through trade which might satisfy these criteria. Since the dealership would be able to obtain a vehicle like this at a lower price not disclosed to the plaintiff, they would be able to reap additional profit as a result of this conduct. The dealer also has the expertise to discover damage to any car and other conditions that would make a difference in the consumer's purchasing decision. The law is very clear on material commissions. If the disclosure is intentional because the dealer knows it would make a difference in the decision by the consumer the disclosure must be made.

A New Jersey Consumer Lawyer or a New Jersey Consumer attorney can provide you with solid advise on these possible cases.

Scam 3 – Price Packing

A common dealer practice is known as price packing. Under this practice, a dealership will sell the plaintiff various products without their knowledge or consent. The basic premise is that it is built-in or packed into the price. As an example, if the dealer quotes a price at $500 per month as if everything is included but has not advised the plaintiff that what is included is a warranty at $50 per month, a gap product at $50 per month, a replacement product at $50 per month, or some other product which is included in these monthly payments, it needs to be disclosed. There are various reasons these products need to be disclosed: because they could be canceled, require disclosure to insurance companies, or, as a common matter, permit the plaintiff to decline such purchase of a product. It is common that the dealership not place in the retail installment sales contract a specific amount paid to a third party to hide it from the potential purchaser. This is very common and requires extreme scrutiny by a customer or consumer attempting to purchase a vehicle.

Scam 4 – Bait and Switch and Advertising.  False advertising.

Dealers will place an advertisement in a newspaper or a magazine and not make the vehicle available, or place the ad with the idea of steering the customer towards a different vehicle where the profit is additional. Or the dealership might not remove the vehicle from the advertisement after it is sold. Under these circumstances, it would be deemed a bait and switch, which would be actionable under New Jersey law under most circumstances. Be careful and document your car buying experience.

There is a similarity between various dealer scams. Generally, there is a failure to disclose a pertinent fact as to the transaction: History of the vehicle, prior damage, interest rate, mileage, odometer settings, product prices, product details, used vehicle certification details, selling dangerous vehicles with known defects, and recalls, among other issues.

For general purposes only, it might be easier to categorize these types of scams for explanations. But be forewarned: The types are various and you need to be careful when purchasing a car.

It is required that you protect yourself and you understand your consumer rights when buying a car form a dealer.

These are only some of the type of deceptive practices and car dealer scans and car dealer tricks that are used by New Jersey car dealers to sell cars. Not all car dealerships are bad of fraudulent. Not all car dealerships are good. However, like in life, you have to be careful as you can potentially be taken advantage of by somebody was trying to or selling you a vehicle.

It can only help if you are aware of what the deceptive practices, car dealer scams and car dealer tricks as to be educated. You should know about the different options and the different scams that can happen so you can be protected.

An ounce of prevention and knowledge can be very helpful here if you understand what they potentially can be implemented and you understand the potential deceptive practices you can understand the transaction and you can protect yourself and you can protect your family or anybody who might be buying the vehicle.

Again, most car dealerships tried to do the right thing. However many do not do the right thing. If you have this knowledge, if you have this working knowledge of the type of tricks that are available to the car dealerships you can judge yourself as to whether or not a car dealership is trustworthy or not. More information is better than less information.

Scan 4:  Not paying off the trade vehicle

Many dealerships take advantage of customers who provide the vehicle for trade. They sell a vehicle, obtain the money from the bank to pay off the trade and then keep the money. The reason they keep the money and not pay off the outstanding loan on the vehicle is to finance the running of the business for a limited time. They have a specific time to pay off the loan. Every day they do not pay off the loan they use the money to run their business rather than pay off the trade vehicles in New Jersey. This is improper, deceptive and can cause significant damage to a customer's credit history. There also to be monetary damages such as late fees interest and penalties for the late paying off on the trade vehicle. It is imperative to keep track and contact with finance company to make sure the loan is paid off as required. You need to immediately contact the credit reporting agencies in your bank there is any delay in paying off the outstanding balance. You need to document all your opportunities/communication with the selling dealership to demonstrate you are not late on payments but rather the dealership that had your car, was required to pay off the loan but did not. As of November 2020, seen a lot of this type of conduct in the selling