Odometer Tampering and Fraud Claims

 

When the odometer of a vehicle is misrepresented, it typically involves fraudulent practices related to the vehicle’s mileage. This can lead to various claims and legal actions, depending on the jurisdiction and the circumstances of the misrepresentation.

Here are some common types of claims and actions that can be pursued in cases of odometer misrepresentation:

  1. Odometer Fraud Claims: Odometer fraud involves intentionally misrepresenting the mileage on a vehicle to increase its apparent value or make it more appealing to buyers. In such cases, a buyer may have legal claims against the seller for the misrepresentation.
  2. Breach of Contract: If there was a written contract or sales agreement that included specific information about the vehicle’s mileage, and the seller knowingly provided false information, the buyer may have a breach of contract claim.
  3. Violations of Federal and State Laws: In the United States, the federal government has the “Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act,” which makes it illegal to tamper with or alter an odometer. State laws also address odometer fraud. Violations of these laws can lead to penalties, fines, and civil liability.
  4. Consumer Protection Laws: Many jurisdictions have consumer protection laws that prohibit deceptive trade practices. Odometer fraud could be considered a violation of these laws, leading to claims and potential legal action.
  5. Tort Claims: In some cases, odometer fraud could lead to tort claims, such as fraud, misrepresentation, or even negligence, if the seller’s actions are deemed reckless or intentional.
  6. Federal Odometer Act (FOA) Claim: In the United States, the Federal Odometer Act (FOA) allows consumers to seek damages for odometer fraud, which includes actual damages or a civil penalty up to three times the amount of actual damages, whichever is greater.
  7. Rescission of the Sale: In some cases, the affected party may seek to rescind the sale, effectively voiding the transaction and returning the vehicle to the seller while recovering the purchase price.

 

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Lawsuit against Used Car Dealer

State Files Lawsuit Against Used Car Dealer 

The New Jersey Attorney General filed a lawsuit against two “Buy Here-Pay Here” auto dealerships and their owner for allegedly unconscionable and deceptive lending practices.

The complaint alleges that defendants sold high-mileage, used autos at grossly inflated prices with excessive down payments; financed the sales through in-house loans with high interest rates and “draconian” terms that created a high risk of default; and then repossessed and resold the vehicles over and over again to different consumers in a practice they refer to as “churning.” The defendants also allegedly engaged in deceptive advertising, failed to disclose the damage and/or required substantial repair and bodywork required for used motor vehicles, and failed to provide consumers with complete copies of signed sales documents, including financing agreements. The complaint alleges that these practices violated the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Advertising Regulations, the Automotive Sales Regulations, and the state Used Car Lemon law and regulations.

Source: New Jersey Attorney General files suit against used car dealer

 

See also:
Automobile dealer fraud overview 
Typical mistakes in lemon law trials 

 

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