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Car Fraud

Serving Los Angeles, Riverside, Ventura, and San Bernardino Counties and throughout California

Types of Automobile Fraud

Whenever you purchase an automobile, you have the expectation that you will be buying a quality vehicle that will serve all of your needs. Unfortunately, all too often, vehicles are sold that are misrepresented and are actually not as good of quality as they are expected to have been. When a car dealer or manufacturer creates, markets, or sells a vehicle that they know is actually damaged or not of high quality, this is considered automobile consumer fraud.

At the Law Office of Howard D. Silver, our attorney specializes in helping those that have fallen victim to any type of consumer fraud. He has decades of experience especially helping those that are victims of any type of automotive dealer or sales fraud. He and our team can help you recover financially if you’ve purchased a vehicle that you believed was of good quality but was misrepresented. For help with your case, please contact our firm by calling (855) 341-2611.

Types of Auto Dealer Fraud

An automobile dealer has a responsibility to sell you a vehicle honestly; giving you an accurate explanation of everything about the car. When a dealer chooses not to truthfully reveal the details of a car they’re selling, they may be using any of the following types of auto dealer fraud to try to make a sale:

  • Bait and switch – a dealer promotes an alluring vehicle, but then doesn’t actually have that vehicle on the lot. The car will usually be a flashy vehicle that is being advertised at an amazing price. However, the dealer never actually intended upon selling that vehicle and will talk you into purchasing an entirely different car once you’re on the lot.
  • Price inflations – a dealer may dishonestly inflate the price of a vehicle by adding additional charges that don’t get explained to you until you’re finalizing the sale. These may include dealer fees, warranties, maintenance plans, and other costs that jack up the sale price of your car.
  • Leading you to believe a used vehicle is new – some dealers will even claim that a used vehicle is new and try to sell it for much more than it is truly worth.
  • Odometer fraud – a dealer may roll back the odometer of a vehicle in order to sell it for more than it’s worth. This leads buyers to believe that a car that may require maintenance doesn’t actually need any and can lead to more repairs and even dangerous situations while driving.
  • Not offering a fair amount for a trade-in vehicle – dealers may offer exorbitantly low amounts for a trade-in vehicle, then turn around and sell it for far more than they got for it.

Used Vehicle Dealer Fraud

When you’re purchasing a used vehicle, the dealer may still try to sell it to you in a fraudulent manner. There are multiple tactics that a used-car dealer may use in order to convince you to purchase a vehicle. These can include any of the following:

  • Not disclosing that a vehicle was a “lemon buy-back” – if a vehicle was sold and then proved to be a lemon, a used car salesman must inform you that it was a lemon. If they do not, they’re leading you to believe that the car is a well-maintained, used car when it actually is not.
  • Not informing you that a vehicle was used as a dealer loaner or a demonstration vehicle.
  • Rolling back the odometer to make you believe that the car isn’t as old as it may actually be.
  • Attempting to charge for items or add-ons that you initially were told were free.

How to Avoid Auto Dealer Fraud

Whenever you’re preparing to purchase a vehicle, whether used or new, it is imperative to do your due diligence. You must research the vehicle you desire and determine if the dealer you choose to purchase from is selling it for a fair amount. Once you’ve decided that a dealer is selling the vehicle for a fair amount, you can do the following to protect yourself from purchasing a car that is being sold in a fraudulent manner:

  • Make sure you negotiate your price
  • Always ask for a detailed explanation of any extra charges that are associated with your vehicle
  • Get a report of anything that has occurred to your vehicle – flooding, fires, or accidents
  • Get a report of any maintenance or repairs that were done to your vehicle. Research these repairs and ensure that the replaced parts were the proper parts for your vehicle.
  • Find out all the details of your warranty if there is one

Seek Help From our Attorney

At the Law Office of Howard Silver, we have been helping members of our community seek help after purchasing a vehicle that was sold fraudulently for decades. If you believe you were a victim of consumer fraud, contact us today for help. Our lawyer can help you seek compensation to replace the cost of the vehicle, any maintenance you’ve had to pay for, and any other lost income due to your vehicle. We can help you get your life back in order after suffering because of vehicle fraud. Contact us today by filling out the form on the page or call us at (855) 341-2611. We proudly serve clients in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Ventura. 

Posted Date: 
Tuesday, December 29, 2015
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4 Ways to Spot Odometer Fraud on a Used Car

When purchasing a used car, you can either work with a dealership or buy directly from a private seller. There are several important benefits to working with a dealer, including the ability to purchase a warranty that protects you if the vehicle has issues.

When you purchase a used car from a private seller, you are taking a much greater risk and you're more susceptible to being the victim of fraud. One of the most common types of fraud you should be on the lookout for when buying a used car from a private seller is odometer fraud.

The following tips will help you determine if odometer fraud has been committed when purchasing a used car:

  • Examine the vehicle's service history -- Request to see documentation of the vehicle's service history before purchasing it. In most instances, the mileage will be included on repair receipts provided by the mechanic. If the numbers on these service reports don't match up with the current mileage on the odometer, it's a sign that the odometer was tampered with.
  • Inspect the dashboard -- Look for loose or missing screws or scrapes on the dashboard. These indicators don't guarantee that odometer fraud has been committed, but they are certainly warning signs and should arouse your suspicions.
  • Ask to have the car inspected by your own mechanic -- You should always do this when purchasing a used vehicle. It helps protect you against buying a lemon, and it will also help you determine whether odometer fraud has been committed. Your mechanic should be able to estimate the mileage based on the wear and tear on the vehicle.
  • Insist on seeing a vehicle history report -- You should always do this, regardless of whether you're buying from a dealer or a private seller. A vehicle history report from an agency such as Carfax will give you information on inspections and emissions tests, and this information will help you determine if the mileage on the odometer is accurate.

If you think you may have been the victim of odometer fraud when purchasing a used car, you have rights. Howard Silver has more than 25 years of experience handling these cases, and he'll fight aggressively for your rights every step of the way.

Please contact the Law Office of Howard D. Silver using the form at the right side of the page or call (855) 341-2611 today to schedule your free odometer fraud consultation. Mr. Silver serves clients in Los Angeles, Riverside, Ventura, and San Bernardino Counties and throughout California.

Posted Date: 
Monday, February 23, 2015
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Protecting Yourself from Odometer Rollback Fraud

One of the most common ways auto dealers commit used car fraud is by rolling back vehicle odometers in order to increase the value of the car by making it seem like the car has lower mileage that it actually does. Rolling back odometers is illegal under California and Federal law. It decreases the value of the vehicle and makes it harder to sell the car in the future.

You have a right to recover compensation if you purchase a used car with a rolled back odometer. With more than 25 years of experience fighting for the rights of used car fraud victims in the Los Angeles area, Howard Silver can help you resolve your legal issue. However, wouldn't it be much better if you could avoid the situation entirely?

The following tips will help you reduce the chances of purchasing a car with a rolled back odometer:

  • Check with the DMV to see if they have anything in their records about the vehicle having a rolled back odometer.
  • Obtain a CarFax report or a report from a similar company that describes the history of the vehicle from the time it was first sold to the present.
  • Have the vehicle inspected by a mechanic or dealership you trust that is completely independent from the seller of the car. If the seller refuses to allow you to have the vehicle inspected somewhere else, don't buy the car.
  • Carefully read all of the documents you receive when you purchase the car including all DMV forms. One of the DMV forms requires the seller to indicate whether the mileage on the vehicle is accurate.

If you need assistance with a used car fraud case, please contact the Law Offices of Howard D. Silver today to schedule your free consultation. Mr. Silver serves clients in Los Angeles, Ventura, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties, and throughout California.

Posted Date: 
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
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Governor Brown Signs Two New Bills Restricting Buy Here Pay Here Car Lots

After continued controversy and debate, new legislation has been passed in California to regulate used car dealers commonly known as Buy Here Pay Here lots. As reported by The Los Angeles Times, Governor Jerry Brown signed two bills into law on September 29th dictating the use of warranties and prices by these dealers.

Under the new laws, Buy Here Pay Here dealers are required to provide warranties for every car they sell in California. Specifically, all vehicles sold from these types of lots must now have a warranty covering 1,000 miles and 30 days. Additionally, the fair market value must be provided for every vehicle and payment options for customers must be more flexible.

However, Governor Brown vetoed a third bill that would have capped the interest rates these lots could charge and regulate them as finance lenders. Previous investigations have found that Buy Here Pay Here lots have been known to charge as much as 30% in interest on vehicle loans and and use aggressive repossession tactics. Even with the third bill vetoed, legislators and advocacy groups across California are celebrating the passing of two out of the three bills as a major victory.

Los Angeles auto fraud attorney Howard D. Silver can assist you in obtaining restitution for the losses suffered due to the actions taken by a dishonest car dealer. With years of success representing consumers, Howard D. Silver has the skills needed to recover from your losses. For more information on how we can help call (866) 49-LEMON.

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California’s New Car Dealer Regulations – Charges and Licenses

This is the final entry in a three-part series detailing California’s new auto dealer regulations provided by Assembly Bill 1215, which goes into effect July 1.

California’s Assembly Bill 1215 has created many new regulations for auto dealers and consumers. Several of the changes are described below.

What Will You be Charged For?

When buying or leasing a new or used car, a consumer will be charged for document processing and electronic title registration. This was previously known as a document fee. It will now be called a document charge. All charges must be disclosed to a consumer to prevent hidden fees. Electronic title registration charges cannot exceed what was charged by the first-level service provider. Remember, you have the right to know what you are being charged so you are not taken advantage of by a dealer.

 

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Changed License Plate Regulations

Consumers should remember California’s new license plate policy. Before, a new car could be driven for six months without a license plate. Now, starting July 1st, the time has been shortened to 90 days. Additionally, the license plate must be immediately attached to the vehicle once it is received.

Experienced Legal Assistance and Guidance

Knowing what the law is when you buy a used car can help you avoid being taken advantage of by a dealer. However, knowing what the law is and applying it to your situation can be difficult. San Bernardino car dealer fraud lawyer Howard D. Silver has years of experience protecting consumers and can ensure that you do not suffer due to a dealer’s exploitation. For a free consultation about your case, contact the Law Offices of Howard D. Silver today at (866) 49-LEMON.

 
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California’s New Car Dealer Regulations – History Reports and Warnings

This is the second part of a three-part series describing California’s recently enacted used car dealer regulations.

With California’s recently enacted used car dealer regulations scheduled to begin on July 1st, it is important for consumers across the state to understand their new rights. The new regulations require car dealers to provide potential buyers with additional details about the cars they’re interested in buying such as past history and damage.

 

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The Benefits of a Vehicle History Report

The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) tracks the history of every vehicle sold in the United States and pursuant to Assembly Bill 1215, dealers must obtain a vehicle history report for every used car they sell. By having a history report, consumers can find out who owned the car, where it has been, and what has been done with it. Armed with this additional information, consumers can find out if there is any damage or illegal activity associated with the vehicle.

What Damage Requires a Warning Sticker?

A dealer must place a red warning sticker near the used vehicle’s FTC Buyer’s Guide to warn potential buyers that the car has been classified as a junk, salvage, or total-loss. A vehicle is classified as junk when it is inoperative, dismantled, discarded, and no longer licensed. A salvage is a vehicle that has sustained damage equivalent to at least 75% of its value before being repaired. A total-loss is a car that has been damaged to such an extent that the insurance company considers repairing it uneconomical and the repairs did not occur for or by the person who owned it when it was damaged. All of these incidents may result in problems that were not properly fixed and deserve a warning.

The Aid of a Skilled Attorney

If you have been the victim of deceptive business practices by a car dealer, you deserve restitution for your losses. Riverside used car fraud attorney Howard D. Silver can assist you by applying his years of experience and success to your case. For further details on how we can help you, call the Law Offices of Howard D. Silver at (866) 49-LEMON today.

 
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California’s New Car Dealer Regulations – Title Registration and Vehicle History

This is the first of a three-part series detailing California’s new auto dealer regulations enacted by Assembly Bill 1215.

How much government regulation new and used car dealers be subject to has been an ongoing debate in California for many years. However, stories of unfair dealer practices and exploitation of consumers has led to the passing of Assembly Bill 1215, effective July 1, 2012.

The new regulations are:

Electronic Title Registration

Electronic title registration is notification to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) regarding rightful possession of a motor vehicle. All new car dealers are required to become a DMV Business Partner by October 1, meaning that notice of all motor vehicle ownership changes will be given directly to the DMV via electronic title registration. Used car dealers, however, are not required to become business partners.

Buying a car from a DMV Business Partner dealer will keep consumers from receiving vehicles that the dealer had no right to sell and will help prevent ownership disputes.

Vehicle History Reports

All dealers must now obtain a vehicle history report from the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) on every used car they sell. The law specifically states that it must be a NMVTIS report, which is available through various providers (not Carfax or Auto Check). Vehicle history reports provide details concerning the title, brand history, salvage history, total loss history, and odometer reading.

By obtaining a vehicle history report, a consumer can hopefully learn of any accidents, recalls, and overall use that the car has been subjected to. He or she can also find out if anything may have been covered up or what problems the car might have.

Protecting California Consumers against Dealer Fraud

While laws such as AB 1215 provide greater consumer protection, dealer fraud still occurs. If you have been the victim of such practices, Los Angeles dealer fraud attorney Howard D. Silver can help. For more information, call the Law Offices of Howard D. Silver at (866) 49-LEMON.

 
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LA Consumer Wins Lawsuit against Honda Over Civic MPG Misrepresentation

A Los Angeles woman won a Small Claims Court judgment for $9,867.00 against American Honda Motor Co. on February 1, 2011. The women contended that the Company’s claims about the gas mileage capabilities for the Honda Civic Hybrid were misleading entitling her to damages. According to The Los Angeles Times, the woman purchased a 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid after relying on advertising by the company that the vehicle could get a maximum of 50 miles per gallon of gasoline, a level the women’s car never reached.

During the lawsuit, the woman claimed that the maximum mpg that the car ever reached was 42 and that a software update that was done dropped the mileage to below 30 mpg. The Civic owner decided to file her own lawsuit after learning that a proposed settlement from a class action lawsuit would leave owners with an average of $100 plus rebate coupons for a new car.

 

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While this is only one Small Claims Court decision and Honda has promised to appeal, there have been other recent claims against Honda for misrepresentation, including the class-action. In fact, there is a website dedicated to the matter entitled, “DontSettleWith Honda.org.”

Additionally, Honda has acknowledged that batteries for 2006 through 2008 Civic Hybrids are deteriorating faster than expected. As such, batteries eventually will not charge to full capacity, the vehicles will rely more on gasoline and gas mileage will get worse.

Consumers have the right to be told the truth about the vehicle they are buying, and when they are deceived, they have the right to restitution for their losses. If you find yourself in this position, Howard D. Silver, Los Angeles unfair business practices lawyer, can help . For more information, call us today at (866) 49-LEMON and receive a free complimentary consultation about your case.

 

Beware of Leasing a Used Car in Southern California

car-silver-3622302.jpgInvestigations into used car leases from Southern California auto dealers have uncovered that dealers are able to exercise options that can potentially harm consumers. Although leasing a used car allows consumers with tight budgets to quickly and easily gain access to a vehicle with smaller payments, the method actually benefits dealers much more than consumers.

Because the consumer is only leasing the car, it means that the dealer still technically owns the vehicle. Also, when someone misses a payment, the vehicle can quickly and easily be repossessed by the dealer. In addition, a Bankruptcy Court judge cannot reduce lease payments, leaving newly broke consumers unable to reduce their lease accordingly.

Leasing used cars also allows dealers to reduce tax liability, with the tax paid by consumers given to the government by dealers over a longer period of time instead of in one lump sum at the beginning.

If you believe that you have been the victim of dealer fraud, Riverside County auto dealer fraud attorney Howard D. Silver can aid you in recovering your losses. Mr. Silver is dedicated to protecting consumer rights in Southern California and can help you today. For more information, call (866) 49-LEMON.

 

Beware of Increased Title Washing Dealer Fraud

While there are many ways in which a used car dealer can commit fraud, a new form of fraud, known as title washing (hiding past damage), is beginning to emerge in cases across the United States.

Title washing can be done in two ways. First, dealers use vehicle documentation laws from other states to hide information such as flood damage and salvaged titles. By hiding this information, dealers can trick consumers into believing the car is in much better shape than it truly is.

The second form of title washing can occur when a dealer fraudulently files paperwork in another state to obtain a duplicate title for the vehicle. The duplicate title does not mention the prior damage to the car and is given to customers instead of the true title.

These forms of fraud can lead to a consumer purchasing a defective vehicle or paying more money than the car is worth. If you have been the victim of these types of practices, the Los Angeles used car dealer fraud attorney, Howard D. Silver, can assist in recovering your money. Contact the Law Offices of Howard D. Silver today for a free consultation about your case at (866) 49-LEMON.

 

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