There is a reason why “used car salesmen” frequently tops the list of most hated professions. Although there are some honest dealers out there, many used car salespeople offer deals that turn out to be no good. For example, a dealer up in Lodi, NJ was recently busted a dealer for selling cars with rolled back odometers and undisclosed accidents. That same dealer was also hiding the details of their financing and fees in fine print that was nearly impossible to read, or not disclosing this information at all! Unfortunately, these illegal sales gimmicks are all too common.
Did you buy a used car the dealer assured you was in great shape only to discover it needs major repairs? Did the check engine light turn on the minute you pulled out of the dealer’s lot? If the car you bought is not in as good of shape as the seller promised, you may be able to return it or get the seller to pay for necessary repairs.
If a car has been in an accident, the seller is supposed to tell the buyer about it. However, many dealers hide this information in order to sell a car for a higher price. If you find out a car you have bought was in an accident (which you can do by ordering an accident report or by having by car inspected by an experienced mechanic) you may be able to get a refund or get the seller to pay for necessary repairs.
Rolling back the odometer to suggest that a car has been driver fewer miles than it actually has is fraud. This is not something that can be detected by the typical buyer, which is why both states recommend that buyers have used cars they are considering purchasing inspected by an experienced mechanic before going through with the deal. If you find out later that a car you bought had its odometer tampered with, there may be a way for you to get a refund depending on the circumstances.
Failure to Provide Paperwork
Every car should come with a title. If it doesn’t, that is a good sign that the car is stolen or has been salvaged from a junk yard.
When you buy a used car you should also get a copy of all the final paperwork on the car and, if applicable, its financing.
If any of the paperwork you bring home from the sale is missing, blank, or has different information on it than what you agreed to, you may have a claim against the seller.
Thankfully, consumers in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey have ways to fight back if they get scammed by a used car dealer.
Both states have Lemon Laws and consumer protection laws that are designed to shield buyers from the misdeeds of scummy salespeople.
This is such a common problem that both states’ Attorney General have Lemon Law specialists on staff. If you want to try and tackle this yourself, here is the link for the New Jersey Attorney General’s Lemon Law office and here is the link for the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Lemon Law office.
If you aren’t the DIY type, you can always have your case evaluated by an experienced attorney. Depending on the circumstances involved, you may be able to get the dealer to pay for your attorney’s fees if you are successful.