Buying a used car is challenging. Many Pennsylvania consumers worry that they do not receive a full disclosure of a vehicle’s history, and that may strap them with the previous owner’s problems. In many cases, a vehicle’s title should reveal any major issues, such as an accident, flood damage or fire. Unfortunately, some dealers have learned how to use title washing to get around these disclosures to get a better price for a seriously damaged vehicle.
Title washing occurs when a dealer takes a damaged or totaled vehicle to another state and obtains a new title that does not disclose the damage. A dealer can then bring the vehicle with its new, clean title back to Pennsylvania and sell it. There are numerous states in the country that will “wash” a vehicle title, which means a dealer may sell the damaged car or truck for a much higher price. Title washing may also remove any liens on the vehicle.
Lucrative as this process may be for a car dealer, it is unfair to the consumer and can be extremely dangerous. A consumer ends up paying much more than the vehicle is worth and possibly dealing with years of expensive repairs. Purchasing vehicles without knowing that they were in fires, floods or accidents may leave drivers unaware of potentially catastrophic failures that may place them and their families in danger.
Pennsylvania consumers who purchase a vehicle only to discover defects not disclosed on the title or by the dealer may have cause for seeking recourse through the civil courts. Lemon laws in this state are complex, and title washing cases can be challenging. The first step in invoking those laws is to obtain solid advice from an experienced legal professional.