Does a Car Dealership Have to Disclose an Accident?  

Buying a new car always seems to contain extraordinary difficulty. You have to slink around the lot searching for the right vehicle while hoping not to be spotted by one of the vultures in a suit that exist seemingly only to part you from your hard earned cash. After you are ultimately found by a salesman, you then have to try and decipher his embellishments and smooth talk from the actual features of the car you’ve got your eye on.

Dealerships have an obligation to inform potential customers of a vehicle’s history, but sometimes try to brush over the fact that a car on their lot might have been recently damaged. While the vast majority of the nation’s tens of millions of annual car purchases will be signed without any issue, far too many end up causing undue heartache to proud new owners because of such incidents. Surely this can’t be legal, you might think – and you would be right. Selling a car and hiding a part of its history from prospective buyers is against the law. Technically speaking, interested buyers have the right to a fair price for whatever they are buying, and if the dealer misrepresents the vehicle’s condition then they are naturally misrepresenting its value as well, thus artificially inflating the price as a result.

Setting the legalities aside, the realization that you have been conned can be devastating to a driver’s psyche. Thankfully, there are certain steps you can take to ensure that you are protected from this type of behavior—and if you do fall victim, there are ways to make things right quickly and easily.

Buying from a trusted source

The first and most reliable solution to this problem is to find a car dealership that you trust. Many car buyers find themselves going back to the same dealership year after year to replace, trade in, or buy a second or third car for other drivers. Routinely working with the same sales team will make your buying experience feel less like pulling teeth and more like a friendly meeting for advice. This can make all the difference in your satisfaction with both the experience and the car, and repeat business will reduce the chance of being led to a poor quality or subtlety damaged vehicle.

An average American household owns about two vehicles at a time and Americans will buy nine cars in their lifetime. This is down from a pre-recession figure of thirteen, yet nine cars still resonates as significant. If you have the ability to, consider making more than one of these vehicle purchases from the same source to improve both your satisfaction and security in quality.

Falling victim

Buy what if you have already been duped by a morally questionable sales rep? Unfortunately this happens more often than we realize. The reason is because of the nature of the Carfax report and its source of reporting. Carfax data isn’t typically added to a report for about six months, so a dealer looking to squeeze a potential buyer for a little extra cash has a short window in which to purchase a damaged car and then sell it again. They can produce a legitimately ‘clean’ car history in this space of time, but it won’t stay that way for long.

The good news is that if you find yourself facing this situation, you have options. If a dealer that has misrepresented a vehicle, you need to do a few things, and quickly. First, search for a competent auto accident lawyer in Mobile, AL, or your local area. Next, you should stop driving the car. If you determine that your car has been grossly misrepresented and you continue to drive it, you may find it difficult to convince a jury that you wouldn’t have bought the vehicle knowing this additional information.

These legal battles occur far too often, but you have the law on your side. As long as you hire local legal help and make a few smart decisions about your habits surrounding the faulty car, you will have no trouble recovering the cost of the vehicle and purchasing a safer car with an accurately-disclosed record.

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