A dealer must be honest and forthcoming in all advertising and all statements made during the sale of your vehicle. Below are some common examples of unlawful dealer practices:
Lies About Vehicle Quality and Condition: Dealers are required by law to stand behind any claim of quality or condition made in advertisements or during the sales negotiations. If a dealer lied to you about a vehicle, and you were harmed by that lie, then you should be entitled to compensation for that harm. For example, if you paid a higher price for a vehicle because it was advertised as having certain features that it didn't have, you should be able to recover the amount of the extra price from the dealer.
Odometer Rollback: Under federal law, anyone who buys a vehicle under 10 years old must be given a certified statement as to the vehicle’s true mileage. Anyone who fraudulently tampers will an odometer or makes a false mileage certification statement may be sued for a minimum of $10,000 plus attorney’s fees.
Undisclosed Accident History: Dealers are legally required to be forthcoming with all information regarding the vehicle’s history that would be important to a prospective buyer. Vehicles with a history of a major accident, insurance total, or frame damage significantly reduce the value and safety. If you discover that your vehicle has a troubling history that the dealer never told you about, then you may be able to recover the amount of your vehicle's lost value, or even get a refund.
Selling for More Than the Advertised Price: A dealer cannot charge more for a vehicle than the advertised price. One common ploy is where the dealer says that financing is not available at the advertised price so they need to raise the price in order to get a loan approved. Lenders never ask dealers to increase the vehicle sale price, this is just the dealer tricking you into giving them more money. If this happens to you, you may be entitled to return of the overcharged amount, plus $2,000, plus attorney’s fees.
Excessive or Illegal Add-Ons: It almost always costs more than the sticker price to purchase a vehicle because of add-on fees and products. These add-ons are often cost thousands of dollars. Some add-ons like VSI and Document Preparation Fees provide no value to the buyer and may be illegal if not properly disclosed. Other add-ons like GAP, Vehicle Service Contracts or Extended Warranties may technically provide you with coverage but are often so full of loopholes they almost never pay out when you need them. Korth Law Office may be able to help you get a refund for these the worthless add-ons.
The Paperwork Does Not Match with What You Paid: The sales and financing paperwork should account for every penny you spend. If you pay the dealer for tax, title, and registration when none are listed on the purchase contract the dealer may be covering up fraud. If the down payment/deposit listed in the paperwork does not show the amount you actually paid, then the dealer may have stolen part of your down payment. If you financed the vehicle, an unaccounted for down payment may result in increased interest payments in violation of the federal Truth-in-Lending Act.
Your Loan Is Denied a Week After Purchase ("Yo-Yo Sales”): Probably the most abusive tactic on this list are so-called yo-yo sales. You buy a vehicle and finance it, have it registered and insured in your name. A week later you get a call from the dealer saying that the lender rejected your loan and that you have to come in to sign a new, more expensive, loan, or else they will take the vehicle back (like a yo-yo). Yo-yo dealers engage in coercive behavior against those who refuse to sign the higher loan. Some techniques include threatening to report your vehicle as stolen, confronting you at your home or at work, or inventing an excuse for you to bring the vehicle in and then refusing to give it back to you. Yo-yo dealers will often threaten or perform illegal repossessions.
The procedures for registering a vehicle set up by MassDOT are designed to ensure that the financing is finalized at the time of registration. If financing is "denied" after you bought it that means 1) the dealer screw up the paperwork, and/or 2) the dealer is lying to trick you into a more expensive loan. Either way, you should not have to return or refinance the vehicle for something that is not your fault. Korth Law Office may be able to stop yo-yo dealer harassment while keeping you in the terms of the original loan.
Illegal Interest Rate:
The maximum interest rate for consumer motor vehicle purchase loans in Massachusetts is 21.0%. Whenever a loan exceeds this limit, all interest becomes illegal. So, a vehicle purchase loan with an interest rate of 21.01% must be treated as if it were a 0% loan.
A loan that says it has a rate of 20.9% or lower may still have illegal interest. The interest can be miscalculated or there may be hidden interest charges that push the interest over 21%. Korth Law Office is experienced in discovering the account tricks and hidden interest charges in auto loans to determine whether the interest rate is above the legal limit.