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Are you safe from fraud at a high-end dealership?

On Behalf of | Nov 13, 2023 | Dealer Fraud

You might naturally be worried about fraud at one of those “buy-here/pay-here” car dealerships. You may not even trust a regular dealership to always be on the up and up. But most people assume that luxury car dealerships are immune to unscrupulous practices.

Even though it may seem incongruent with the image of high-end dealerships, there’s a dark reality lurking behind a lot of those luxury facades. A sleek showroom and polished sales pitches don’t make prestigious establishments any more trustworthy than the average dealership.

A big price tag doesn’t guarantee a good car

A recent news article about a luxury dealer, CNC Motors in Upland, CA, illustrates just how problematic luxury vehicle fraud can be. Buyers who put out a hundred thousand dollars or more on their vehicles say they got “super lemons” instead of the “supercars” they were supposed to get.

What are some of the problems they faced? The same sort of things that you’d expect at any other dealership that engages in shady practices, such as:

  • Failing to pay customers correctly when they sold a customer’s used vehicle on consignment on their behalf
  • Using title jumping (or “floating a title”) by selling a vehicle without first transferring the ownership into the dealership’s name to obscure the vehicle’s history (and the dealership’s liability if something goes wrong)
  • Selling vehicles with liens without disclosing them to the buyer, essentially sticking them with the problem
  • Exaggerating the performance capabilities or safety features of a vehicle to lure buyers into making a purchase based on misleading information
  • Title washing, which involves sophisticated title transfers between states so that the dealership can eliminate (or, at minimum, obscure) the fact a vehicle was damaged

Don’t let the fact that a high-end dealership is synonymous with quality and luxury fool you into relaxing your guard when you make a purchase. A car can be a lemon no matter the price.

Staying informed and exercising caution is the best way to protect yourself when you’re buying a car, but dealerships can be very clever when they aim to deceive. If you’ve been stuck with a lemon, it may be wisest to find out more about your rights and options by seeking legal guidance.

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