The salespeople at a dealership who are trying to get the most money possible for a used vehicle might blatantly misrepresent the condition of a specific vehicle and, therefore, its value to the buyer. Despite disclosure laws requiring that dealerships provide prospective buyers with honest and thorough information about the condition of a vehicle and its history, many people buy vehicles and then discover much later that there were serious issues with it to begin with.
Mold in a vehicle might seem like it would be obvious, but it is one of the defects that dealerships can potentially hide to get more money from a buyer. What happens when a buyer discovers mold months after making a purchase?
Those with proof of fraud could pursue a claim
There are ways for a dealership to treat the mold that develops inside the cabin of a vehicle after water damage, but those treatments won’t necessarily prevent the mold from eventually coming back. If any mold escapes chemical treatment, the new owner of the vehicle may be in for a very unpleasant surprise once that mold begins to spread and reassert itself.
A prior flooding incident that introduced mold to the vehicle might make all of the seats and upholstery unsafe. In the month that it takes for the mold to become visibly obvious again, the new owner might expose themselves and their family to a very dangerous vehicle interior. Especially in families with young children, older family members with compromised immune systems and those with asthma, the presence of mold in a vehicle might translate to serious health issues in the future.
Even if a dealership has cleaned the visible mold out of a vehicle and treated its surfaces with anti-fungal agents, the buyer should still receive a disclosure about the flooding and the mold growth before they complete the sale. Someone who does not have accurate information about the history of issues with a vehicle could very well overpay for a vehicle that might put their health at risk.
Mold damage affects what a vehicle is worth
A dealership that doesn’t honestly disclose the problems with a vehicle and its history can trick people into overpaying. Those who discover misconduct after already purchasing a vehicle may be able to file a claim against the dealership that fraudulently misrepresented the vehicle and exposed someone and their family to health risks.
A claim, if successful, might lead to financial reimbursement for the cost to reupholster or replace the vehicle and also compensation for any lost wages and medical expenses the family may have had to absorb because of the fraud and the illness it caused. Holding dealerships accountable for vehicle misrepresentations through auto dealer fraud claims can help promote better sales practices.