Knowing how to collect evidence for a dealer fraud case will save you a lot of investigating time and give you better results in your fraud case. Being defrauded is not only costly and inconvenient, it is humiliating. No one enjoys being made a fool of. If you suspect you have been a victim of fraud when you purchased a used car, you should consult with a reputable auto fraud attorney to verify that you have a viable case. In most circumstances, such attorneys work on contingency, meaning you only pay them if they win your case, so you get the benefit of legal experience, knowledge, and skill without paying any money upfront.
Indications That You Have Been a Victim of Fraud
Unfortunately, there are several ways of being defrauded as the criminals who engage in such behaviour are well aware. The basis of the scam may be financial, involving:
- Charging you more than the advertised price
- Collecting deferred down payments
- Surreptitiously increasing the amount of the down payment or the agreed upon monthly payments
- Failing to disclose the value of your trade-in or paying too little for it.
- Changing the interest rate on your loan because “your credit is bad”.
- Not honouring the warranty they provide you with.
- Charging you for accessories or options you don’t need.
- Charging you for insurance you didn’t agree with.
- Insisting that you pay for a service contract if you want financing.
You may also be defrauded by being sold a car that is in far worse condition than it appears to be. The dealer may neglect to tell you that the car:
- Has been in one or more significant accidents
- Has a major defect
- Has previously been labelled a “lemon”
- Has previously been a rental car or taxi
- Has had more than one previous owner
- Has an odometer that has been tampered with (has more mileage than shows)
In some cases, just having your attorney make contact will be enough for the dealer to offer a reasonable settlement, especially if that dealer already has a history of complaints of fraudulent dealings.
The law recognizes two types of implied warranties. One type, known as the implied warranty of fitness, indicates that the purchased vehicle must be able to work for a particular purpose. The more common implied warranty is for “merchantability,” meaning that the car must meet reasonable standards expected of a functioning automobile.
Why You Need a Lawyer
Trying to handle a problem like this alone is a mistake. Considering that you have already been scammed by someone proficient at fraudulent behaviour, you don’t want to try to remedy the situation without professional help. If you take an impulsive step, such as simply not making any more payments, that decision is likely to come back to bite you since you are not paying your bills and, in doing so, are damaging your own credit rating. An attorney who specializes in auto fraud will be able to guide you through the process so that you receive appropriate compensation without doing yourself harm.
Evidence That You Have Been a Victim of Fraud
Your attorney who, unlike you, have been through the process many times before, will assist you in amassing evidence that fraud has been committed against you. With such evidence, you stand a much better chance of winning your case and receiving just compensation. Though you and your attorney may not be able to take all of the following steps, the ones you do take will be important in building up evidence of fraud:
- Have your car checked by a knowledgeable, trustworthy mechanic, one who is willing to give written corroboration of such things as tampering with the odometer, or concealment of damage to the car’s frame that may be proof of previous accidents.
- Instead, or in addition to step one, you may want to have the car checked out at a diagnostic centre.
- Subpoena car dealer records that indicate the dealer’s purchase price and the condition of the car at previous purchase.
- Obtain any available maintenance records from previous owners.
- Check with the state motor vehicle bureau to find out how many previous owners the car has had, what the mileage has been each time the car was sold, and whether the car has been registered in other states.
- Learn the name of, and possibly contact, the car’s former owner for detailed information.
- Search the internet for vehicle history which will tell you whether the car was stolen, salvaged, or used as a rental or taxi.
- Get copies of the title from the motor vehicle registry of each state in which the car has been registered.
- Check the VIN (vehicle identification number) on the windshield. Any signs that it has been altered may indicate that the car has been stolen.
- Look for evidence of repainting which may cover rust or previous repair sites.
There seems to be no end to inventive methods of deception. Unethical car dealers are always finding new ways to use bait and switch advertising, high-pressure sales tactics, artificially inflated prices, deceptive contracts, and failure to disclose tactics to make huge profits by committing fraudulent acts. Believe it or not, dishonest dealers have been known to assemble the parts of several wrecked cars into one car and also to reclaim cars that have been wrecked or flooded to polish up and sell. This is why it is essential to be wary when making big purchases, especially of used cars.
What Happens If You Win
Obviously, the most important result for you if your attorney wins your fraud case is that you receive monetary damages to compensate you for the repairs you have paid for and/or to reimburse you for the defective car you were sold. Other remedies may include injunctions ordering the business in question to stop running deceptive advertisements, stop engaging in deceptive practices, and to include disclosure statements in their advertising. The latter remedies will hopefully protect the public from being further victimized by the fraudulent company that victimized you.
About The Author
Lemon Lawyer Timothy Abeel started his own law firm with the basic principle: to treat and approach each case in the same way he would want his own case treated. With that principle in mind, Mr. Abeel has been able to achieve great results for consumers who need an advocate in their corner. Tim will work to get your case resolved as soon as possible and has the experience to take your case as far as needed to get you a great result.