Consumer & Personal Injury Litigators

Did you buy a used vehicle from a dealer claiming to be an owner?

On Behalf of | Mar 4, 2021 | Consumer Protection

Maybe you responded to an ad on Craigslist or called a seller after seeing a photo in a sale group on social media. Someone advertising a used car claimed to be the owner of the vehicle. They agreed to meet you somewhere, possibly in a residential neighborhood or the parking lot of a business.

After talking about the vehicle with them and taking it for a short test drive, you decided to buy the vehicle. Unfortunately, after driving the vehicle for a couple of days or maybe a few weeks, you discovered some serious underlying problems that the seller didn’t disclose to you.

Once you start looking into the transaction, you realize that the person you met wasn’t the owner of the vehicle but someone who works at a car dealership. What rights do you have in that situation? 

Licensed dealers should not misrepresent themselves as private sellers

The used vehicles that dealerships sell are often in questionable condition. Salespeople at the dealership have an obligation to tell you about defects even if they sell the vehicle in as-is condition without a warranty.

Hiding major issues or selling vehicles that they know are dangerous could hurt the reputation of the dealership or endanger its licensing. It’s also easy for unhappy customers to know whom to blame when a dealership commits used vehicle fraud.

To get around professional codes of conduct and protect their company, sometimes people with dealer’s licenses pose as private sellers to move undesirable vehicles. This practice is one of two unscrupulous used car scenarios that people call curbstoning. Some people also use the term to describe unlicensed people who try to make a living flipping used cars.

What are your options after buying a bad vehicle from a lying dealer?

When someone with a dealer’s license misrepresents themselves and the vehicle they sell to you, you may potentially have two different reasons to bring a claim against the individual or business involved.

One involves the misrepresentation of the dealer as a private seller. The other involves the misrepresentation of the vehicle is one you could safely drive. You may be able to file a civil claim against the seller or even report them for disciplinary action to state licensing authorities for their fraudulent conduct.

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