What protection is offered to the buyer of an automobile if there is suspected fraud in the paperwork?

UPDATED: Feb 15, 2012

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What protection is offered to the buyer of an automobile if there is suspected fraud in the paperwork?

My girlfriend recently bought a car and paid by check in full at the dealership. There were 2 checks written at the dealership, 1 for $17.5k, and 1 for $2k, that totaled to the agreed price. The second check was written to be cashed at a later date, as my girlfriend was selling her current car to another dealer and would not have the money on deposit for a few days. She took delivery and everything was finalized. A month later, she began receiving calls from the dealer saying she owed them $2k still. After reviewing the contract, it appears they slipped in a $2k down payment.

Asked on February 15, 2012 under General Practice, California


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If your girlfriend's purchase contract for the vehicle she purchased contains a $2,000 charge that was added after she purchased the vehicle from the dealership, that additional amount added is clearly improper and is fraudulent.

I would contact the dealership and ask for a written explanantion for the figure. Follow up with a letter confirming the call for the explanation. Keep a copy of the letter for future reference.

If the explanation does not make sense, I would contact an attorney that practices consumer law about the situation.

Under the laws of all states, if there is fraud in a deal, the person who has been defrauded is entitled to file a lawsuit to establish liability and prove damages.

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