I need advice on my case dealing with a fraudulent car dealer. I bought a used car from a used car dealer. The car was supposed to be delivered to me by the dealer. The documents which I got – the title and the odometer reading statement listed about 150k miles mileage and the checkbox which says that the odometer reading is not the actual mileage (odometer discrepancy) was not checked.
Having the title, my insurance agent tried to register the car and it turned out that there was odometer discrepancy (the value reported by the dealer was lower than what was already reported to the DMV when it was previously registered). I emailed the dealer about that and told her to talk to my insurance agent to straighten things out. She replied to him lying that she checked the box corresponding to the odometer discrepancy. I immediately pointed out to her that she lied because I had a copy of the odometer reading she gave me and the title. I emailed her that I didn’t have a problem with it as long as she could promise that the car has no other issues, as it was originally stated in the car description.
She didn’t reply to me. Instead the next day she called my insurance agent and she told him to check that box. Then she was supposed to deliver the car. She stood me up twice. Both times she said that she would deliver the car at a given time on Saturday. I was waiting for the entire Saturday with no notice whatsoever why she didn’t show up nor was I able to contact her because, as usual, she did not pick up her phone nor did she reply to my emails. The second time, after a few days from the scheduled delivery day, she finally replied. When I said that she had to do the inspection because I already missed the deadline to do it due to her screw-ups with delivery she said that she would do it but there was a problem with the ECU and she ordered a new one. She also promised to refund me the delivery fee due to her previous screw-ups with delivery. After a week she finally delivered the car.
However, it turned out that there was no inspection sticker, no check for the refund of the delivery fee and there were problems with the central locking system, lights and other issues which she had not disclosed. I called her and she said that she tried to do the inspection but I had to put about 100 miles on the car before the new ECU would start to communicate with the inspection equipment. It sounded suspicious because there was no sticker so I said that I could put 100 miles on the vehicle but I needed an inspection rejection sticker because otherwise I was not allowed to drive the car on streets. She assured me that the next day she would do the inspection and get the rejection sticker and she would also give me the refund check for the delivery fee. She also promised that once I put 100 miles on the car she would re-do the inspection. The next day she didn’t show up nor did she give me the check. I tried to contact her multiple times over the next 2 weeks and she ignored every single call and email.
Finally after 2 weeks from the delivery date I emailed her that I was giving her one more week to contact me and do what she promised to do and otherwise I would go down the legal route with this. She replied that I could give her my lawyer’s phone number, otherwise she would not talk to me at all. She is very confident that since I bought a cheap car I would not afford to go down the legal route with it. I would like to know if I can sue her for the way she treated me and all the lies she told me, what my chances of winning are and what kind of compensation I can expect. I want this fraudulent car dealer to be at the very least fined for the fraudulent actions she committed in my case.
You have a few options. States regulate car sales, including used car sales. You can file a complaint with the state agency that oversees car dealers (sometimes this is the state’s Attorney General’s office or the Department of Motor Vehicles). They will investigate these events and may fine the dealer, file a criminal charge, or file a civil suit against the dealer. You can also file your own suit for breach of contract, breach of warranty, intentional misrepresentation, breach of warranty, or other laws specific to your state that may apply. You can hire an attorney file these claims. Some attorneys may accept your case on a contingency basis, which means you would not pay anything out of pocket, but the attorney would get a sizable percentage of any settlement (usually 30-40%). You may also file pro se, which means you file without an attorney. This may be difficult because the court procedures can get complicated for a non-lawyer, but many courts try to help pro se litigants through the process. Depending upon the amount of money you would be pursuing, you may alternatively be able to file your claim in small claims court. This is much cheaper than regular court, and may provide a faster resolution for you. To help you decide which course of action is best for you, you can look on the website of the agency that oversees car dealers and consult an attorney who deals with consumer protection.