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What is Auto Fraud?
Fraud may be committed by an automobile dealership by misrepresenting or failing to disclose such things as the true condition of the vehicle (i.e., whether the vehicle was involved in an accident or sustained some type of damage when in possession of a prior owner), the true mileage of a vehicle or the true ownership history of the vehicle. Fraud may also occur when a dealership allows a consumer to take delivery of a vehicle prior to obtaining financing, promises to obtain financing, fails to do so and then refuses to return the consumer’s down-payment or trade-in vehicle.
Different types of fraud that can occur during a vehicle transaction may include;
PRIOR DAMAGE OR SALVAGED, WRECKED VEHICLES- some dealers have been selling poorly rebuilt wrecked or salvaged vehicles, which may turn out to be unsafe or priced too high. The majority of these vehicles were involved in accidents or floods. Though they look good on the surface, they may have steering problems, defective brakes, inadequately welded parts and overall, poor handling
It is the responsibility of the selling dealer to inform you before purchase if the car has, to their knowledge, a “salvage title” or has been involved in an accident.
Be certain to inspect the vehicle thoroughly if you intend to take it home! Look for the following;
MISREPRESENTATIONS OF YOUR VEHICLE’S HISTORY
A dealer must not withhold information as to the condition of the vehicle at the time of purchase. No buyer wants to find out about damage to their “new” car after they have assumed possession and the car is in their driveway. Whether your vehicle was involved in an accident, holds a salvage title, or was damaged due to flood, you have the right to know, prior to purchase and can not be deceived as to your cars past “life”.
“EXECUTIVE DRIVEN” OR RENTAL VEHICLE
Another practice used by some dealers is selling vehicles that were used for rental purposes and claiming these were “executive driven”. The consumer purchases the vehicle, believing that only one owner drove and owned it. Later, extensive problems may surface, some of which are due to excessive wear and tear caused by many different drivers having driven and used the vehicle.
FRAUD PREVENTION TIPS FOR CONSUMERS
*GM vehicles with mechanical odometers have black spaces between the numbers. If the spaces are silver or white, the odometer has been tampered with.
*Electronic odometers are built to show tampering, represented by an asterisk or some other mark in the display. Your owners manual will have more information on this feature.