More cases of auto fraud are being reported nowadays. If you ever purchase a vehicle and the car dealer doesn’t tell you the real condition of the vehicle you have just paid for, you have every right to sue.
First, you need to understand what auto dealer misrepresentation is.
For instance, they could lie to you that the vehicle has never been in an accident. The next day you discover that it has been in several, how do you go about taking the necessary legal action?
What is car dealer misrepresentation?
This is when an auto dealer deceives you or uses any devious tactics before, during or even after you have bought a car. This could be by telling you lies to get you to buy the vehicle. It can also be by withholding the whole truth about the car’s history.
On top of that, they may roll back the odometer, not provide all the services you paid for or sell the vehicle at a price that is way above its real value.
There are federal and state laws that have been put in place to protect you from dealership fraud. Therefore, you can pursue a claim in court. If you want to know whether or not you have a case and high chances of winning, you have to provide proof of loss.
How do you accumulate your loss?
Loss is also referred to as ‘damages’. In most cases, it is what you have lost after being swindled by your car dealer. Most people care about the direct financial loss, but you can count the damages in a variety of ways.
For instance, you may buy a car worth $20,000 at $40,000 because the car dealer led you to believe that it was worth that much. In this case, you have lost $20,000. It may also happen that the vehicle was not as new as you were told.
One day, on your way to work, it breaks down, and you spend too much time stuck in traffic. Eventually, you decide to skip work, and you lose that day’s income. You might also count that as a loss because if the car would have been in excellent condition, you would have arrived at work on time.
Furthermore, you may be involved in an accident because of faulty brakes that the dealer never told you about. This time, you lose the car, and you suffer injuries that may require lots of money for healthcare.
All these are damages that can make you sue your dealer, but you need evidence that you were given the wrong information at the time of purchase. It can even be better if you have a witness.
You may also have an audio or video recording of you asking about the car’s condition.
Before you can start the suing process, here is what you should do first:
Go through the purchase contract again
This should be the first thing you do once you realize that you have bought a car after misrepresentation. There may be some terms and conditions that guarantee a full refund or repair. After you have reviewed it, move on to the next step.
Contact the car dealer
You should always talk to the vehicle dealer who allegedly lied to you first before proceeding to court to sue. You may be shocked that they had no idea that they were giving you the wrong information. Additionally, they might even be willing to correct all the mistakes. Here is a list of some auto dealers that you may be contacting:
- World Imports USA
- Richardson Motor Company
- Auto Holding
- Autobahn USA
- Auction Direct USA
- Enterprise Car Sales
- Chevorlet Car Dealership
Regardless of which one it is, make sure you record all the details of the meeting. They might come in handy later.
Seek legal help
Regardless of what you agree on with your vehicle dealer after you’ve met, get a lawyer to give you legal advice. They will also help you in the suing process, especially if the vehicle seller refuses to pay for the damages.
Suing a car dealership for misrepresentation
This should be your final decision if you have been unable to solve the fraud issues with the car dealership. You begin by determining the type of business the car dealer is.
What is the dealership?
If the auto dealer you are accusing of misrepresentation is a sole proprietorship, you should file the lawsuit against the owner. For partnerships, you should sue all the partners who own the business.
The process of suing a corporation is a bit different. You will not sue the heads of the organization because it is a separate legal entity; distinct from those who own it. Therefore, you will be suing the company itself. Most of them have a team of lawyers to deal with such lawsuits, but they can also have a single attorney. To know such information, you may have to ask them.
After knowing the nature of the organization you are suing, file your intention by going to the nearest courthouse.
Filing your complaint
The court will help you file a claim against the car dealership that has lied to you. Also, make sure that you hire a lawyer if you do not already have one. Either get a process server to serve the auto dealer with the court papers or do it personally. Do not use email, mail or any other communication means that you deem appropriate.
Car dealer’s response
Once you serve the vehicle dealership, they have to respond. If they do not agree with your claims, there could be a countersuit. This is where your lawyer steps in. They protect your rights and make sure that you get compensation for the losses you have suffered.
If you can successfully prove misrepresentation in a court of law, you can get:
- Refund of all the money you spent purchasing the vehicle
- Reimbursement of the repairs you may have paid for
- Compensation if the car you bought had wrongfully been repossessed
- Punitive damages; should the dealer be found guilty of predatory actions
To sum up, suing a car dealer for misrepresentation takes time. It is best if you get an experienced attorney to help with the process. Before you get started, identify the type of organization you are dealing with to know exactly who you should sue.