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Car Dealer Sued for Auto Fraud

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Seeing new cars advertised for a modest price, our retired client told the salesman at a local car dealership that she was looking for a new car, but was on a limited budget. She told him the range of payments she was willing to make. That salesman recommended a specific vehicle that he said would be within that range. She told the salesman she did not want any additional warranty because the car still had a factory warranty and because she had a modest, fixed income.

When the dealer presented the sale documents to her, she told their manager that she could not read them because she had left her reading glasses at home. However, the manager would not allow her to take the documents home, and insisted that she should sign them because she could trust him not to take advantage of her. Trusting him, she signed the documents.

When she arrived home, she put on her reading glasses and was finally able to read the contract. She then saw for the first time that the car was a used car and not a new car, and that her payments were about 50% higher than what the dealer had told her. She also saw that the dealer had included over $2,000 in add-ons for a GAP contract and a service contract. She immediately called the dealer to discuss this, but was told the manager was not available. A few days later, she went to the dealership, but was told the manager was on vacation and that the salesman no longer worked there. One of her acquaintances then scheduled another meeting, but the dealer claimed that she did not have an appointment.

When she contacted the finance company to whom the dealer had sold the contract, she also learned that her monthly income had been falsely inflated by nearly 400%. When she was unable to continue making payments, the car was repossessed.

When our pre-litigation attempts to settle this case failed, we filed the auto fraud lawsuit on behalf of our client accusing the car dealer of fraud and violation of consumer protection laws. While the lawsuit was pending, the car dealer agreed to settle the case on terms that were favorable to our client.