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Dealerships have a legal obligation to disclose damage to new cars

On Behalf of | Apr 5, 2021 | Consumer Protection

If you go to a dealership to look at used vehicles, you do so with the understanding that they will have already incurred some amount of damage. It is common for used vehicles to have issues that affect their systems or even lingering damage from a previous collision. Those issues factor into the price that the dealership can charge you for the vehicle.

Most people don’t think about the issue of damage or repairs affecting the value of a brand new vehicle. However, new vehicles undergo repairs before getting sold all the time. Perhaps the vehicle suffered some kind of damage during transportation from the factory to the dealership. Maybe someone took it for a test drive and caused a minor crash. It could even have had a defective component that the dealership had to repair due to a recall.

Does a dealership have to tell you about issues on a new vehicle that required repairs?

Pennsylvania law requires disclosure in certain circumstances

Dealerships generally have to be honest with the public about the condition of their vehicles, whether new or old. Disclosures are key to honest and fair use card transactions, but they are also important for those who want to buy a new car.

You have the right to know if the supposedly new car you are about to purchase has actually had major repairs made to it already that could affect how much it is worth when you try to resell it. Under Pennsylvania’s new car disclosure statute, dealerships have to tell potential buyers about damage to a new vehicle if the cost is greater than 3% of the suggested retail price or $500.

What happens when you discover undisclosed repairs?

You may not realize that a dealership failed to tell you about previous issues with your car until you take it in for maintenance or let your buddy who works as a mechanic pop the hood.

If you have recently learned that a dealership failed to tell you about significant repairs made to a vehicle that you purchased as a brand new car, you may be in a position to hold them accountable for their lack of disclosure.

Filing a fraud-related civil suit against the dealership can help you recover the lost value to your vehicle and may possibly prevent that dealership from doing the same unethical thing to someone else in the future.

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