Offering high-quality, cost-effective representation to consumers throughout Maryland

  1. Home
  2.  → 
  3. Consumer Rights
  4.  → Signs of auto dealer fraud?

Signs of auto dealer fraud?

Purchasing a vehicle is a significant investment, and your role in being aware of potential auto dealer fraud is crucial. While most dealerships operate properly, some may resort to deceptive practices to maximize profits. By being vigilant and recognizing the signs of fraud, you can protect yourself from falling into these schemes.

Odometer tampering

A common form of auto dealer fraud involves tampering with a vehicle’s odometer reading. If a car’s mileage seems suspiciously low for its age or condition, it could be a red flag. 

Examine the vehicle’s service records and look for discrepancies between the odometer reading and the documented maintenance history. Additionally, check for signs of odometer tampering, such as mismatched digits or loose odometer housings.

Concealed damage

Untrustworthy sellers could try to hide a car’s past damage or accident history. Look closely for evidence of mismatched paint, uneven spaces between body panels, or misaligned parts on the vehicle. 

Keep a cautious eye on places like the front and back ends that are prone to accident damage, and don’t be afraid to ask for a vehicle history report.

Misleading advertising and pricing

Be wary of dealers who employ deceptive advertising tactics or misleading pricing strategies. Watch out for hidden fees or additional charges that were not initially disclosed. Ensure that the advertised price matches the final sale price, and thoroughly review all documentation before signing any contracts or agreements.

Auto dealer fraud can have severe financial and legal consequences. You can protect yourself from these deceptive practices by being vigilant, conducting thorough inspections, and reviewing all documentation meticulously. 

If you suspect any fraudulent activity, do not hesitate to report it to the appropriate authorities and seek legal advice. Remember, knowledge and caution are your best defenses against auto dealer fraud.