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Vehicle salespeople often don’t know the history of used cars

On Behalf of | Jul 14, 2023 | Dealer Fraud

Getting a used car largely requires that someone trusts their initial reaction to a vehicle and also that they obtain appropriate information from the salesperson assisting them with the transaction. Pennsylvania state law clearly requires that dealerships and the sales professionals they employ disclose known information about any issues with vehicles they’re selling.

However, many dealerships skirt such requirements by selling their vehicles in as-is condition and only inspecting them in a cursory fashion. Although someone may trust a salesperson who’s telling them that a specific used car is a great deal, that salesperson may not really know the vehicle’s history.

Many used cars cross the country via auction

If car dealerships only reworked and resold the cars their buyers provided as trade-ins, they would have very limited stock to offer the public. The local community would likely already be fully familiar with the vehicles they had on display. To offer a broader assortment of vehicles and those that people will not have encountered in traffic, dealerships by vehicles in bulk at auctions. Resellers list multi-vehicle lots for sale, and dealerships then bid on those vehicles. The goal is to buy as many vehicles as possible for the lowest price so that the dealership can mark up each one and turn a profit on its sales.

Obviously, the issue with this approach is that dealerships don’t inspect each of the vehicles in a lot thoroughly and may even choose not to do so after making the purchase. That way, they can try to claim ignorance should the buyer uncover some kind of significant defect after making the purchase.

It is, therefore, of the utmost importance that those looking at used vehicles in Pennsylvania do their best to learn about the vehicle’s history and its current condition. Instead of just trusting the salesperson, obtaining a vehicle history report and having a professional mechanic inspect the vehicle could help validate someone’s decision to purchase a specific vehicle.

In scenarios where someone buys a vehicle that has significant undisclosed defects, the dealership may have some liability, especially if it does not cooperate with a need to repair the vehicle. Learning more about vehicle disclosure rules and consumer protection laws can help those tricked into buying a vehicle in poor condition at a local dealership to seek the justice they deserve.

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