Q: What action can I take against a dealer who takes my money but fails to deliver the vehicle?
Although exile to Siberia is not an option, a consumer fraud attorney can help people defrauded by unscrupulous auto dealerships.
Recently, a Pennsylvania man operating a dealership in New Jersey was accused of scamming a slew of Russian citizens in a $2 million fraud case.
Reportedly, the dealer, Global Auto Group, in Elizabeth New Jersey, allegedly advertised autos online below market value and then failed to deliver them to Russian consumers who had wired the purchase price payment for the vehicles. The 140 impacted Russian consumers were expecting that the autos would be shipped by the dealer to Finland for pick up by the buyers.
Authorities allege that the dealer is also guilty of the following:
- ·not having titles to cars he was selling;
- selling “salvaged cars” with hidden flood damage;
- accepting payment for one car then offering an inferior one in its place at a higher price;
- accepting payment for cars auctioned off to other buyers.
Fortunately, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and most states have consumer protection statutes to protect buyers from unfair or deceptive conduct in consumer transactions, including the sale of automobiles. Although the laws vary, they are generally meant to prevent businesses from misleading and deceiving customers.
New Jersey defines consumer fraud as "any unconscionable commercial practice, deception, fraud, false pretense, false promise or misrepresentation in connection with the sale of goods, services or real estate." In some states, including New Jersey, a party found liable for committing an act of consumer fraud must pay three times the amount of the damages awarded to the defrauded victim—otherwise known as treble damages.
When a dealer deliberately sells you a “wrecked car” or one with known defects, or engages in illegal financing, they may be guilty of auto fraud.
If you live in Pennsylvania or New Jersey and feel you have been the victim of consumer fraud regarding the purchase of a car, the law firm of Timothy Abeel & Associates can help. Call 888-830-1474 for a free consultation. We represent clients in “Lemon Law”, breach of warranty, and fraud cases throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey including but not limited to the Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Cherry Hill, Newark, and Trenton areas.