Avoiding dealer fraud is not an easy task to do. A buyer or a lessee is always under the risk of being defrauded by a dishonest auto dealer. Dealers concentrate on making money on vehicle purchase and lease deals, that’s why they may use lots of scams and tricks to misrepresent the vehicle and get extra profit from it. Following are 5 useful tips by Hovanes Margarian who is an auto dealer fraud attorney practicing within the state of California. Hovanes Margarian has handled thousands of dealer fraud cases and he knows the ins and outs of dealer scams.
Thus, following are the tips by Mr. Margarian for avoiding dealer fraud when leasing or purchasing a vehicle:
Read what you sign carefully
This is a very basic and simple rule; however lots of buyers and lessees have been defrauded just because they failed to follow it. According to Mr. Margarian, though the sales people always seem to be nice and genuine to the buyers, they are however in the business of selling vehicles. This means that the sales people may fail to disclose known facts about the vehicle; this includes non-disclosure of the car’s previous major accident, non-disclosure of the vehicle’s frame damage so on so forth. Though there are honest dealers, however many auto dealers are inclined to misrepresent the vehicles to be able to induce the sale. Thus, in order to protect yourself you must read all the documents carefully and thoroughly.
Get a copy of every document you sign
Getting a copy of your document is equally important for avoiding dealer fraud because if you do not require a copy of what you have signed, there is a risk that the dealer may add a line/sentence there stating for example that the vehicle is a previously damaged one. It thus may turn out that you have signed the documents and bought the vehicle knowing and realizing that it has had prior accidents before. In this case you will have no means of proving that the document you have signed did not contain that line/sentence in it. Note that you should require the duplicates of all your purchase or lease documents: even if there are two sets of documents there, you must get the copies of both of them. Also, take care to scan those copies and save them in your computer in case you lose the paper based ones.
Remember that verbal promises are not as good as written ones
In certain cases verbal promises by a dealer are worthless. Thus, if you are thinking about getting add-ons or other services, make sure that the dealer promises in a written form to do the job for you.
Document any verbal communications
Let’s imagine a scenario: you enter a showroom, you find the vehicle you like, you meet the finance manager, you then get information about the vehicle and its options and he tells you that the vehicle has never been involved in an accident. Mr. Margarian’s advice is to go back home and send this person an e-mail with approximately the following content: “dear Bob (or whoever he is), it’s a pleasure meeting you, thank you for showing me the car. I really like the car and I particularly like the car that has never been involved in an accident….”
As long as you write an e-mail like this to the sales manager, you are saving evidence for you that will later on help you win in the court in case it turns out the finance manager had cheated you.
Keep your documents in a safe place
There are lots of people who keep their purchase or lease documents in their glove box. This is the most unsafe place to keep your documents in. The thing is that the documents may either be stolen by thieves or what is worse the dealer himself may steal those documents during the time your car has been in the dealership for repairs. The dealer thus can take out your documents and add a line or two stating as follows: “Client has been advised that this vehicle has previously been involved in an accident and currently has mechanical defects. Client agrees that should the vehicle break down any time client is the only responsible for all such repairs.” If you do not have any copies of these documents you will not have any legal recourse either.
These were the top 5 rules you should follow as a vehicle buyer or a lessee for avoiding dealer fraud. If you want to learn more about how to avoid dealer fraud view the videos below.