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Spotting car sales fraud

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2018 | Consumer Protection

For a large majority of West Virginians, vehicles are an essential part of everyday life. A reliable, efficient ride is part of that equation. Discovering that fraud has occurred during a purchase can certainly make for a frustrating experience, but when it comes to such dishonest transactions, the law protects consumers. Below are some automobile buying smarts that can help buyers avoid those difficult situations.

As for the car hunt itself, Business Insider provides a few tips on how to discern the good from the bad. Surprisingly, their list begins with an auto sales scam that involves a dealer’s omission of not the major parts, but the small details. By giving a critical ear to every word a dealer shares about the vehicle, customers can be wary of any tricks. Business Insider also warns of “bait and switch” offers: a scam in which the dealer first offers a customer a car at a low price, only to tell the customer the car has been sold once they arrive to the dealership. From there, dealers may distract customers by drawing their attention to a vehicle of a higher price. One way to avoid such dishonest practices is to call the dealer ahead of time and request a signed statement that mentions the sale. 

At the end of the day, a fraudulent car sale is simply illegal. The Federal Trade Commission outlines its role in preventing car sales fraud, which partly involves enforcement actions. Such actions can apply to car dealers, telemarketers and any other company using deceptive practices or illegal pyramid schemes. The FTC also enforces the Used Car Rule, a regulation that requires dealers to place a specific sticker on the windshield of used cars. In addition, dealers must supply customers with all important information regarding the vehicle. Whether a customer has just made a suspicious purchase or has only begun the search for a new ride, spotting car sales fraud is a vital part of the buying process.    





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