Auto fraud can occur at the dealer lot during a car purchase or at an auto repair shop when having a vehicle serviced. Most dealer purchases or repair arrangements are not fraudulent; however, such instances do, nevertheless, exist.
Fortunately, Florida law contains specific protections for consumers who are defrauded when buying cars or having them repaired. Our firm has helped clients in numerous instances where auto fraud was suspected. Here are just 3 types of situations where we have helped clients in auto fraud cases.
Car advertised as something it wasn’t
One client bought a car based on a written representation that it had a more powerful engine than it really did. First we sent a demand letter, explaining that this representation was false, but the dealer would not agree to rescind the purchase contract. Eventually, the client chose to take the case to trial, which we did. After trial, the court agreed that the sale had been based on a misleading advertisment, which violated the purchase agreement, and awarded damages to our client.
Most cases that are resolved, however, are done so without having to go to take such lengths of an actual trial. The first stage in a matter involving unfair and deceptive trade practices is usually to send a demand letter.
The “certified pre-owned” vehicle with undisclosed damage
One situation we have seen more than once is where a consumer buys a car advertised with a stamp of high quality, such as, for example, “Certified Pre-Owned,” designating that the dealer had performed a rigorous inspection prior to listing the car for sale. We have seen a couple of clients who, having bought such a car, learned that the vehicle had an unrevealed history. This realization may occur when the consumer is trying to sell or trade in the car, and a prospective buyer reveals that the car had been in an accident or is damaged, and is worth significantly less than anticipated. Or the car may have a significant mechanical failure that should have been detected in the certification process. We have argued that sales like this violated Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) because the certification process failed to disclose the accident or damage it should have detected.
Unfair charges and trade-in prices
One elderly client had bought a car based on a sales person’s representation that it had low gas mileage, then learned the sales person was wrong. The client returned to the dealer and asked it for a car he had originally asked for — one with better gas mileage. The dealer agreed to swap out the new purchase with another car with better mileage. However, the transaction ended up being extremely unfair to the client, who was credited thousands less for the very same used car he had bought from that same dealer just days before. He also ended up being double-charged for dealer and other fees.
We argued that the dealer’s sales tactics and refusal to rescind the original agreement for an equal sum was a deceptive act in violation of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. We also argued that the dealer had exploited an elderly person. We sent out a demand letter and eventually negotiated a resolution our client was happy with.
Every auto fraud case is different
These are just a few examples of many instances alleging auto fraud or unfair and deceptive trade practices. In most cases, we start by sending a demand letter on the client’s behalf. Favorable results may not be typical, as the outcome of each matter depends on many factors. Not everyone will have a beneficial result.
Do you have an auto fraud issue?
If you would like to contact us for a consultation of your auto fraud or other issue, call our office at 407-965-5519. Or you may schedule a consultation with Attorney Conlin online at http://calendly.com/cynthiaconlin/consultation