Auto Dealer Fraud
Consumers tend to be at a disadvantage when they are buying vehicles from auto dealers. Some auto dealers cross a line and commit fraud, thereby causing significant harm to consumers who buy cars from them. Types of fraud committed by auto dealers include financing scams, incorrect credit scoring, failures to disclose a "lemon," forgeries, title or odometer fraud, and undisclosed auto damages. For example, a dealer may sell you a car and then call you afterward to say that financing could not be found and that the deal must be rewritten with terms that are adverse to you. When you try to walk away, the dealer may claim that your down payment cannot be refunded or charge you an enormous rental fee. In this situation, consulting a consumer protection attorney may be an appropriate step to take. San Antonio auto dealer fraud lawyer Jeramie Gertz can help you assert your rights.Representation in Auto Dealer Fraud Claims
If you have been victimized by auto dealer fraud, such as false advertising or misrepresentations of guarantees or warranties, you may have remedies under both the common law and the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA). The DTPA applies if you qualify under its definition of a consumer, and the car you bought or leased is the basis of your complaint. As defined by section 17.45, a consumer is someone who acquires or seeks goods or services by lease or purchase.
There are several types of causes of action that may be brought under the DTPA based on auto dealer fraud. These include any breach of express or implied warranty and any unconscionable action. Additionally, the DTPA includes a list of 26 false, misleading, or deceptive acts and practices that may serve as grounds to sue. These acts and practices, as applied to auto dealers, include causing confusion as to the source or certification of cars, using deceptive representations in connection with cars, representing that a lease or purchase agreement confers rights that it does not, making explicit or implicit representations that cars have characteristics that they do not have, and making misleading statements about the need for parts, replacement, or repair service.
You usually need to bring a DTPA claim within two years of either leasing or buying a car. However, sometimes a deceptive practice is discovered later. You may be able to bring a lawsuit within two years of when you discovered or should have discovered a deceptive trade or practice, using reasonable diligence. To recover damages under the DTPA for auto dealer fraud, you need to establish that you were the actual or intended consumer of the car, the DTPA applies to the defendant, the defendant committed a wrongful act as defined by the DTPA, and this wrongful act caused your damages.
If you establish these elements, you can potentially recover damages for loss of use, loss of value, the difference between the fair market value and the amount paid, costs of repair, and reimbursement, as well as injunctive relief and attorney's fees. If the defendant's actions were taken while knowing the consumer could suffer mental anguish, a jury may award up to three times the amount of economic damages. If the defendant's actions were taken intentionally, the jury may award up to three times the amount of mental anguish and economic damages.Discuss Your Auto Dealer Fraud Case with a San Antonio Lawyer
If you have been harmed due to an auto dealer's fraudulent or misleading actions, San Antonio auto dealer fraud attorney Jeramie Gertz may be able to bring a lawsuit for damages on your behalf. He represents consumers throughout Bexar County, as well as in Maverick, Medina, Guadalupe, Cornal, Kendall, Bandera, and Atascosa Counties. For a free consultation with a consumer protection or injury attorney, call us at (210) 807-4444 or contact us online.