When you listen to the radio on the way to work or watch the news on television at night, you will probably encounter at least one car dealership advertising their competitive trade-in policy. Dealers will tell people that they can push, pull or tow a vehicle onto the lot and receive multiple times the vehicle’s fair trade value as credit toward the purchase of a vehicle from their lot.
This kind of set-up is a great solution for those who need a new vehicle but don’t have a down payment available. However, there is a dark side to what at first seems like an act of generosity on the part of the dealership. They are going to flip those vehicles and sell them to someone who may not know how bad their condition really is.
Flipped vehicles, like flipped houses, often have cheap parts and cosmetic fixes
Flipping personal property involves purchasing an item at a low price and making some improvements to it in order to sell it for a premium. House flippers will buy properties owned by those underwater on their mortgages or homes in such bad condition that a mortgage company won’t finance it.
They will make quick repairs to necessary systems and try to increase the cosmetic appeal of the property by upgrading the exterior, the kitchen or the appliances. In vehicles, flipping might involve fixing the visible damage from a crash without addressing the damage to the frame of the vehicle. Flipping can also involve making short-term fixes that correct issues temporarily without permanently fixing them for the next owner.
Some dealerships might misrepresent the condition of a flipped vehicle
When you test drive and check out a vehicle that seems to be in operating condition, you will make a purchase offer based on the perceived condition of the vehicle. Even if you buy a used vehicle as-is, the dealer should not intentionally lie or try to cover up significant defects.
When they do that, you might pay far more than the vehicle is worth. If you suspect dealership fraud because of major issues with the vehicle that you recently purchased, you may have the right to hold the dealership accountable for their misrepresentation of a used vehicle that they poorly repaired.