People often trust that statutory rules will help protect them against business misconduct. They assume that companies and workers will abide by the law, especially when they intend to make a sizable purchase. A consumer investing in a motor vehicle, even a used one, can lead to thousands of dollars in profit for the business that facilitates the purchase. Buyers expect that the dealerships they visit will treat them honestly and comply with the law. Yet, this is – very unfortunately – not always the case.
Pennsylvania has very specific statutes about auto dealer fraud that remove much of the financial benefit businesses could obtain by misrepresenting a vehicle to prospective buyers. The law can only go so far to prevent crime, and it also helps by allowing people to take action against businesses that commit fraud when selling new or used vehicles. Companies risk financial consequences if consumers push back against deceptive sales tactics.
Developing a trusting relationship with a mechanic can also actually go a long way toward helping protect individuals from automotive fraud. There are two prime ways in which a trustworthy mechanic can help consumers avoid the worst consequences of auto dealer fraud.
1. They can spot a problem car before a purchase
With more demand for used vehicles in recent years has come increased fraud. One of the best moves someone buying a used vehicle can make involves taking the vehicle to an independent mechanic or inspection.
Even when dealerships provide inspection reports, there’s no guarantee that they will disclose everything they should as required by state law. A mechanic could spot hidden or latent defects not included in the report from the dealership. That information could help the buyer negotiate a better price or walk away from a vehicle that is not a good value given its condition.
2. They can identify hidden defects after a purchase
Sometimes, dealerships engage in sneaky means of covering up vehicle issues. From tampering with the odometer to making temporary repairs to cover signs of expensive issues, there are many situations in which a mechanic could alert someone to the misconduct of a dealership into the lemon or a vehicle with significant undisclosed defects.
The report from a mechanic or their testimony during a civil lawsuit can have a major impact on the outcome for someone who unknowingly purchased a vehicle in poor condition. Seeking professional legal help also makes it easier to identify and counter auto dealership fraud.