Purchasing a vehicle is a significant investment, both for new models and used cars alike. Choosing to purchase a used car is a perfectly sensible option for those on a budget or financially-conscious individuals looking to lessen the blow to the wallet, but that planning goes out the window if the auto dealer sells you a defective car.
This raises the all-important question of what mechanical issues an auto dealer must disclose prior to selling a vehicle. By familiarizing yourself with your rights as a buyer, you can take appropriate legal action if you become a victim of auto dealer fraud.
Can an auto dealer lie about mechanical issues in used cars?
An auto dealer should provide a disclosure document, which must disclose important purchasing and warranty information. This document must also include mention of any known defects that are significant and material. If a dealer claims that there are no mechanical issues when they did in fact know of a noteworthy issue, then they are guilty of a form of criminal fraud known as willful nondisclosure.
What defects should I look for in a used car?
The Federal Trade Commission provides a buyer’s guide that helps consumers navigate the complexities of purchasing a used vehicle. The guide outlines a number of major defects that can occur in used vehicles, such as those afflicting the frame, engine, electrical systems and all other functional parts of an automobile. The buyer’s guide also recommends that consumers inquire with the auto dealer about having a trusted mechanic inspect the vehicle before finalizing the purchase.
Auto dealers have an obligation to disclose any known mechanical issues that will affect a vehicle’s performance in any way. If a dealer fails to make such a disclosure or outright lies about the existence of any defects, then you have the right to pursue legal action and compensation.