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Consumer Protection

Beware of the Car Dealership Scam – What You Need to Know

There’s a common scam being perpetrated in South Florida by certain car dealerships. It happens usually in the smaller, not brand recognized dealerships.

The pattern goes as follows: You arrive at a dealer to purchase a used vehicle. The dealer requires a deposit of around 4 to 5 thousand dollars and promises you that it will find you one of its financiers. They run your credit, tell you you’ve been pre-approved, make you pay and sign all sorts of documents that you cannot change or edit, and give you the vehicle. Your monthly payment under this deal will be, let’s say, $300.

Three days later, you receive a call from the dealer saying that a further review of your credit shows that you do not qualify for the loan at the rate you were told initially and that your new rate is higher. Your monthly payment increases to $450 which you cannot afford. You are therefore told that you have to return the vehicle (if you don’t return it, they will repossess it with a tow truck). Once you bring the vehicle back, they refuse to refund the deposit on the vehicle or tell you that it will be refunded at a later time. The refund really never comes; you are five thousand poorer and without a car.

Beware of this. It is a scam. Not only the papers you signed will contain all sort of language that will de facto block a lawsuit (and believe it or not Florida Courts will enforce them) but civil lawsuits for a few thousand dollars are generally not viable; i.e.: they do not justify the legal investment required to obtain a judgment or recovery. Moreover, many of these dealers are questionable entities that will not defend a lawsuit. They will default, shut down the LLC under which they were operating, and open a new one to operate with a different name.

If you’ve been a victim of a scam, call the office to schedule a case evaluation at 305-570-2208. You can schedule your case evaluation online at: https://www.lawayala.com/consultation/

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