Auto dealer fraud: a wide universe of bad behavior

The potential for vehicle-related fraud is very real in any given case, and not something for any consumer to simply dismiss as a remote or nonexistent possibility.

We pointed out one particular type of auto dealer fraud in our immediately preceding blog post (please see our December 15 entry), namely, odometer tampering. We cited evidence revealing that “the scam is alive and well in Pennsylvania and nationally.”

The playing field would unquestionably be a bit more even and equitably positioned for consumers if odometer fraud was all they had to worry about when seeing an attractive vehicle and entering a dealership to negotiate a fair price for it.

Unfortunately, and as noted in an online overview of fraudulent auto dealer activity, “fraud can occur at almost any stage of the vehicle purchase process.”

That truism -- indeed, that strongly confirmed reality -- elevates the phrase “caveat emptor” to an almost singularly important degree.

Would-be buyers can be scammed even before they enter a dealership, being victimized by so-called “bait and switch” tactics marked by illusory promises. Example: The car you admired in an ad and came in to look at is suddenly unavailable, with an inferior and pricier model being offered in its stead.

Here’s another fraudulent dealer ploy: obscuring the fact that the value of a particular vehicle feature was already configured into the vehicle price and charging twice for it.

And then there’s this: Adding on features not asked for by a consumer and subsequently billing for them.

Numerous other sleight-of-hand techniques and strategies engaged in by unscrupulous dealers (visit the above-cited link for specific examples) seek to dupe unwary consumers.

No consumer needs to suffer from auto dealer fraud. It is a serious offense that can be responded to by legal representation that aggressively pursues all available remedies.

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