Maybe you knew the exact model that you wanted when you arrived at the dealership and you chose the location where you purchase your vehicle because their website showed that they had what you wanted in stock. Maybe you showed up to look around and immediately spotted what should be your next vehicle.
In either case, you purchased a vehicle off the lot and drove home happy in what you thought was a brand-new vehicle. However, as you continued driving, you noticed that the vehicle wasn’t actually in brand-new, perfect condition. Perhaps your mechanic is the one who pointed out some serious issue, like a bend in the front axle.
You never noticed any cosmetic signs of damage and saw no defects disclosed in the paperwork, but it appears there may have been some issue when someone else took your new car for a test drive before you. What rights do you have when your new vehicle already has damage?
The dealership should replace or repair the vehicle
You have the right to assume that a brand new vehicle will come to you without any major defects. If you have to think hundreds of dollars into repairs right after you buy a new vehicle, that would be a very unfair situation.
Dealerships typically have coverage for the vehicles in their lot from their business insurance policy. They can use that coverage to pay for repairs when someone damages a vehicle during a test drive. Beyond that, they have a legal obligation to you, as the consumer, to inform you of the vehicle’s condition.
Your brand new vehicle should not come with significant damage
In theory, the dealership should cooperate with you when you inform them that your new vehicle actually had some pre-existing damage, likely caused by someone else’s test drive.
If they do not cooperate with you, you may need to go to court. Auto dealership fraud is a common issue, and too many consumers just accept unscrupulous and unethical behavior on the part of salespeople or big commercial dealerships. You should not be the one taking a financial loss because a dealership failed to properly inspect vehicles after allowing people to take them out for test drives.
Learning about your rights as a car buyer in Pennsylvania can help you hold dealerships accountable for fraudulent business practices.