When car shopping, it is easy to fall in love with a vehicle that is out of one’s price range. Nevertheless, a slick auto dealer may be able to convince car shoppers that they can afford a vehicle and even handle the financing application so that a customer qualifies for the loan. This kind of fraud benefits the dealer more than the consumer since the dealer makes the sale and the consumer is left with car payments that quickly become a burden.
A common trick dealers use to ensure their customers qualify for financing is to misrepresent important facts on the credit application. This may include inflating the customer’s income or recording a lower rent than the buyer actually pays. Some dealers may do this without the consumer’s knowledge and forge the customer’s signature on the application to the lender. This type of fraud is a felony, but it is not the only way a dealer may commit fraud, for example:
- Misrepresenting the condition of a vehicle as being accident–free
- Offering vehicles through supposedly private sales
- Delivering the vehicle as if the deal is done when the financing is not finalized
- Selling a vehicle for which they do not have the title
- Charging the customer for GAP or warranties but pocketing the money instead of paying the premiums
An auto dealer may seem as if he wants the customer to be happy with a great deal. However, the bottom line is the dealer’s profit. A dealer who uses fraudulent means to achieve this goal should be held accountable.