Consumers in California are generally covered by misrepresentation and fraud laws when a California dealership makes misrepresentations or omissions of fact regarding a vehicle. A consumer in California will be covered under these laws, almost always. This is true whether the car the consumer bought was covered under any manufacturer’s original vehicle warranty or not or was purchased in “As Is” condition at the time of purchase. Since these misrepresentations or omissions occur at the vehicle dealership level, these misrepresentations are generally prevalent in used vehicles.
(Additional reading: The Difference Between a Vehicle Lemon Law Claim and a Vehicle Fraud Claim)
These misrepresentations or omissions of facts made by the vehicle dealership can be intentional or negligent. An example of an intentional misrepresentation would be when the dealership, knowing that the vehicle had a defect, misleads a consumer into buying the vehicle. This is also known as deceit. An example of negligent misrepresentation is one where the dealership had a duty to the consumer, for example, a duty of inspecting the vehicle, and failed to fulfill that duty, and thus failed to live to that expectation by either not inspecting the vehicle or by negligently inspecting the vehicle, thus breaching a duty to the consumer.
Consumers mistakenly believe that because they bought a vehicle from a California dealership in an “As Is” condition, that they do not have remedies under California law. This is not true. Selling a vehicle in an “As Is” condition does not give the dealership carte blanche to cheat, deceive, or mislead consumers. When a vehicle dealership sells a vehicle in California, general rules of contract such as misrepresentation and fraud apply, regardless of whether the vehicle was used or was covered under any manufacturer’s original warranties at the time of purchase.
(Additional reading: What Should I do if I bought a used car with problems)
One of the most prevalent, either intentional misrepresentations, or negligent misrepresentations, made by California vehicle dealerships is where the dealership in the vehicle purchase contract represents to the consumer that the vehicle has never been in a vehicle collision or car accident, when in fact the vehicle has been in a vehicle collision or car accident. In that case, if the consumer, after purchasing the vehicle finds out that the vehicle had been in a collision prior to the consumer buying the vehicle from the dealership and the vehicle dealership represented otherwise, the consumer may not be without a legal remedy.
If the vehicle dealership misrepresented that the vehicle had never been in a car accident or vehicle collision when it was bought and the car dealership represented to the consumer otherwise, a consumer should consider contacting a competent lemon law attorney knowledgeable in vehicle dealership fraud and vehicle dealership misrepresentation.
Luis Aguirre California Lemon Law Attorney 26060 Acero Suite 111
Mission Viejo, CA 92691 Telephone: 949.342.6199.