PREVIOUSLY WRECKED VEHICLES WITH UNDISCLOSED DAMAGE
We are seeing a rise in the number of cases in which dealers represent to a consumer that a car or truck was not previously wrecked or damaged. Most people don’t find out they purchased a vehicle that was previously wrecked or damaged until they begin to have mechanical problems or they go to trade it off and find it is not worth what they paid for it or worse yet, no one wants to buy it.
What Can I Do If I Purchase a Vehicle and Then Find Out It was Previously Wrecked?
Start With the Dealer
Immediately contact the owner of the dealership that sold you the vehicle because they should know how to look at a vehicle and determine whether it has been wrecked. Explain the situation calmly and see if they are willing to work this out with you. If the dealer is reputable, they may be willing to take the vehicle back and refund some or all of your money or they may offer to pay you money damages.. However, if they refuse to help you or plead ignorance you can do one or all of the following:
• Chalk this up to an expensive lesson you never wanted to learn
• File a claim with the Better Business Bureau
• File a claim with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Office
• Contact an attorney that has experience with car sales fraud.
If you are unable to get things resolved within a short period of time, contact an attorney who is experienced with used car sales and car sales fraud to determine what legal rights you may have. The key is not to wait too long or some of your legal rights may expire.
Take Legal Action
In Ohio, as well as many other states, a car dealer has a duty to disclose prior damage to a vehicle whether it is new or used. If you find out that the vehicle you purchased has undisclosed prior damage, gather together all of your purchase documents as well as any repairs or estimates that may be related to the damage and contact an attorney that has experience in handling these types of cases. Burdge Law Office has more than 40 years of combined experience successfully handling car sales fraud claims and lawsuits involving previously wrecked or damaged vehicles, and we can help you, too. Call us today at 888.331.6422.
(ADD LINK TO BETH’S Avvo Legal Guide)
What Can I Do To Minimize the Risk of Purchasing a Vehicle Which Has Been Previously Wrecked or Damaged?
Before purchasing any used car, thoroughly check out the vehicle, both inside and out, during the light of day and never at night. When examining the outside, look for body paint or panels that don’t match up, which can be a sign of body repairs. Look at the door jams to make sure they are the same color. Check the carpeting everywhere for mildew which can mean a flood car.
Thoroughly Research The Vehicle You Want to Buy
1. Research the vehicle history by pulling all three of the following reports: www.CarFax.com, www.Autocheck.com and www.vehiclehistory.gov then click on NMVTIS (national motor vehicle title information system) report. Previously wrecked and damaged vehicles often look good on the outside but are like the proverbial “hot potato” because they often get sold and resold again and again without anyone owning it for very long. And, if you see a vehicle being sold across state lines, that usually means that it went to an auction somewhere. Vehicles bought at auction often include vehicles that have been previously wrecked and damaged.
2. Before buying any used car or truck, always have the vehicle inspected by an independent (and competent!) mechanic. Sometimes all it takes is putting the car on a hoist to see rusted parts or a bent frame or a shoddy repair.
3. Research the car dealer to be certain they are credible and don’t buy from any dealer who does not already have a good online reputation with lots of satisfied buyers. Contact your local Better Business Bureau to see what their rating is and to see how many, if any, complaints have been filed against the dealer. Also remember that you may have more leverage going after a car dealer for a deal gone bad because of state and/or federal licensing regulations than if you purchase from a private seller where your recourse may be very limited.
If you live in Ohio or Kentucky or purchased the vehicle in Ohio or Kentucky, gather up your sales documents and any information that led you to believe you purchased a previously wrecked or damaged vehicle and immediately contact Burdge Law Office.
If you have a problem with a previously wrecked or damaged car or truck, we have the solution.