Suing Car Dealer for Fraudulent Misrepresentation

You are in despair because you do not know how to deal with fraudulent misrepresentation? We are here to help you with some useful advice. Federal law prohibits vehicle dealers from misrepresenting either the mechanical condition of the car or the terms of a warranty.  In California, if you have relied upon a false claim in purchasing a faulty vehicle, you may have a claim against the auto dealer. Generally, there are two kinds of claims: fraudulent and negligent. Today we are going to discuss fraudulent misrepresentation.

California law allows persons to recover damages for intentional fraudulent misrepresentation. Also, negligent misrepresentations if certain elements are sufficiently plead and proved. First of all, let us clarify what does fraud mean. Fraud is using deceit or dishonest means for the purpose of depriving another of money, property or a legal right.

As a California consumer, you have clearly protected rights to sue car dealers if you were deceived at the time of purchase. Car buyers are often not aware of car dealership fraud used by unscrupulous car dealers. Used car buyers are the most common victims of fraud. It is because the car dealers often hide defects or lie about the defective condition of a car.

So if the dealer did not reveal the true condition of the car that you purchased during your transaction you can sue a car dealership for fraudulent misrepresentation. Car buyers have the right to know the truth about the vehicle that they purchase. A car dealer who covers up or misleads a buyer about the defective condition of a vehicle is engaged in fraud.

Types of misrepresentations

Generally, there are 2 types of auto dealer misrepresentations: omissions of fact and blatant misrepresentations. Most lawsuits will be filed under a theory of bait and switch (A form of false or deceptive advertising, in which a car dealer lures customers to the dealership by advertising one vehicle at a certain price. After he tells the customer that the particular vehicle is no longer available before using aggressive tactics to sell a different, more expensive vehicle). There is also the common law tort of fraud which a skilled attorney may be able to assist you with.

If you are planning to sue your car dealer for misrepresentation, keep in mind the following. The main advantage is that you need not establish that the seller actually knew the representation was false at the time he made it. Instead, you must establish only that the car dealer made the representations under circumstances indicating a reckless disregard for the truth. On the other hand, they ought to have known that such representations were not true. If you cannot establish all the required elements of fraud, you may have a claim against the dealer for making negligent misrepresentations.

Let us take a look at the elements required to prove the car dealer made negligent misrepresentations:

  • the car dealer knew or should have known that the representation was false
  • the plaintiff relied on the representation
  • it was reasonable for the plaintiff to rely on the representation
  • plaintiff suffered damages as a result of relying on the representation

Sue the dealer in small claims court

If the car broke almost immediately after you took it out of the used car lot, you can file in small claims court.  There was a clear implication that you purchased a car, not a junk heap. This is your theory no matter what the written contract said.

If you believe that you are a victim of fraud, to call your attorney immediately for legal advice. He will research your case. Then he will let you know right away if there is a good reason to take legal action. Once he agrees to represent you, he is going to file a lawsuit. He will help you to get your money back and cancel the contract. It is also possible to make sure that you do not pay more than you should for your car.

Hopefully, our article helped you to understand most crucial parts of suing a car dealer. Now are aware how to protect yourself from car dealers who make fraudulent misrepresentations. We wish you good luck.


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