Consumer & Personal Injury Litigators

Dealer fraud makes car buying risky

Paying for a new vehicle is seldom easy. Consumers often must plan ahead, predict how long their current vehicle will last, tweak their credit scores and save money for a downpayment. Budgets for new cars can be very tight, and most car buyers in Pennsylvania do not have room for unexpected expenses at the car dealership, some of which may be acts of dealer fraud.

No matter how friendly car dealers may seem, their job is to make money selling vehicles. Giving a customer a good deal does not always translate to a profitable commission, so they may look for ways to pad their profits. For example, a clever car dealer may play on the uncertainties of the buyers, especially when it comes to their credit ratings. Identifying minor issues in a consumer’s credit rating may convince a buyer that the dealer’s finance department is justified in raising the interest rate on a car loan.

It is wise to beware of dealers who add expensive extras to a sales contract to inflate the cost of the vehicle. This may include prepaid service plans, extended warranties and other costly items that may duplicate services and coverage a consumer already has or can obtain cheaper elsewhere. A dealer who adds questionable fees, such as documentation fees or other line items, may be ripping off the consumer for hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

There are steps to take to avoid these deceptions, and it is wise for car buyers to arrive at a car lot educated and prepared. However, if a car dealer uses illegal or unscrupulous tactics to deceive a buyer, it may be a matter to discuss with a consumer protection attorney. A skilled attorney will know Pennsylvania and federal consumer protection laws and help the customer make informed decisions about the most appropriate course of action.

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