Philadelphia Pennsylvania Consumer Protection Blog

Fine print can hinder consumers' use of lemon law

Pennsylvania car buyers may worry about their worst nightmare - bringing home a "lemon", a model plagued with a number of defects from the time of purchase. It can be important to review the purchase agreement, as it may affect their rights as consumers.

One Ohio couple decided to buy a recreational vehicle in 2015, but since the purchase, they have dealt with an array of problems. The RV's engine has suddenly lost power, and there have been ongoing issues with water leaks and defrosting inside and outside of the RV. Despite buying the RV for road trips, they and their family members have been left stranded due to ongoing mechanical problems.

What Is Puppy-Dogging And Why Do Car Salespeople Do It?

There’s a secret slang vocabulary that vehicle dealerships use to describe the sales tactics they use to bump up their sales numbers. One of the terms they use is “puppy-dogging,” a strategy that is as old as car dealerships themselves.

Borrowing From The Pet Store

5 Car sales psychology tricks to watch out for

For many people the prospect of buying a new car is intimidating. Unlike most purchases where you can simply stand in line with your item and then hand over your credit card for payment, purchasing a car involves much more human interaction. That can be a major drawback to potential buyers, especially when sales tactics are used to pressure customers into making a purchase.

Car salespeople have a job to do and that job involves selling you a car. In order to keep their jobs and meet their sales quotas, salespeople will engage in various psychological tactics to help clinch the deal.

Fighting auto repossession

If you are a Pennsylvania resident who has fallen behind on your car payments, there may be ways you can avoid repossession. A person who has come to repossess a vehicle must follow legal guidelines. If the repossessor fails to do so, you may have a case for wrongful repossession.

It is legal to tell a person who has come to repossess a vehicle to leave the property, and their refusal to do so is a violation of law. They may also not enter enclosed areas, threaten to call the police if you do not allow them to take the vehicle, lie about having a court order, touch you physically or ask your neighbors to help them with the repossession.

What are some common types of auto dealer fraud?

Have you ever gone to a car dealership and felt that something was just a little bit… off? Perhaps it was something that you couldn’t quite put your finger on—the salesperson seemed dishonest, was overly aggressive or even overly friendly. Whatever it was, your instinct may have been right: Some auto dealers have been known to commit fraud.

While rare, instances of fraud do happen. Fraudulent auto dealers take advantage of their customers’ trust to make unfair deals. There are several points during the transaction that fraud can occur—from the first time you see the car to the moment you sign the contract. The next time you head to a car dealership, you should know a few of the common ways that auto dealers commit fraud.

Why odometers may be tampered with

Hollywood may have people believe that rolling back an odometer is a good way to prevent others from knowing that the car was out for a joyride. However, rolling back or otherwise tampering with an odometer is considered a crime. It can also have an economic impact on consumers of up to $10 billion per year. To help prevent such fraud from occurring, California law requires a Vehicle/Vessel Transfer Form be filled out.

This document requires that the correct mileage be stated on a vehicle's title when it is sold. However, the law exempts cars from this requirement if it is more than 10 years old. Odometer fraud may occur in a variety of different ways. In addition to rolling back the odometer, such fraud may occur when it is reset or disconnected. It is also possible that an odometer is rolled back in conjunction with the car being detailed.

Americans struggling, worrying about debt

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) said a new poll that it commissioned shows that 73 percent of Americans live with debt. The AICPA says that outstanding household debt in the U.S. has hit a new high of $12.84 trillion, even as consumer spending is increasing at a faster clip than any since 2009.

Unfortunately, the combination of consumer debt and spending is causing for many people feelings of being trapped and hopelessness; the very sorts of feelings unscrupulous debt collectors hope to prey on when making abusive calls that include threats and false allegations.

Why dealers love Carfax (and why you should be skeptical)

Most people are familiar with the catchy Carfax commercials. “Show me the Carfax!” a couple says in one older commercial, and the salesman pulls out a puppet of a “car fox.” The car fox has even become the Carfax mascot.

While you may feel confident asking your dealer to show you the Carfax, there may not be must to show you.

Beware the coming flood of flood-damaged used cars

It might seem that Philadelphia consumers would be safe from unscrupulous car dealers trying to peddle vehicles damaged by hurricanes Harvey and Irma, but don't count on it. Though the flood damage occurred mainly in Texas and Florida, there will be car dealers across the country trying to unloaded cars, pick-ups and SUVs that were flooded by the historic storms.

A recent news article offers advice on how to avoid auto dealer fraud and flooded cars.

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