Friday, September 5, 2014

A Car Dealer Sold You A Wrecked Car...What Now?

It's illegal for a car dealer to sell you a wrecked car without disclosing the vehicle's true condition to you, but some do.  The car dealer may lie to a consumer about the vehicle's condition, purposefully ignore obvious signs of the vehicle's true condition, keep the vehicle's true condition a secret from the consumer, or just simply not know of the vehicle's checkered past either.

If you discover that your vehicle was in a wreck and suspect the car dealer that sold you the vehicle knew about its wrecked condition, then 

Get a Vehicle History Report
A vehicle history report can tell you if the vehicle has been in any reported accidents.  However, it is important to note that if the accident was not reported, then it will not appear on a vehicle history report.  There are three main sources of vehicle history reports online: Carfax, AutoCheck, and NMVTIS.

Carfax is probably the best known and most trusted of the three. You can get a Carfax vehicle history report online for $39.99. According to Carfax, their vehicle history reports check for a long list of problems, including: prior accidents, mileage rollbacks or rollovers, multiple owners, structural damage, lease, taxi, or police use, salvage, rebuilt salvage, other vehicle brands, flood damage, total loss history, airbag deployment, hail damage, recall information, service and maintenance history, warranty information, and more. Carfax claims to have the most extensive vehicle history database in North America, with over 6 billion records. And, according to Carfax, they receive data from over 34,000 different sources. Vehicle history reports can be viewed on your computer, tablet, or smart phone, and CarFax also offers a 100% money back guarantee. To request a Carfax vehicle history report, click here.

AutoCheck is a slightly less well known, but widely used, competitor. You can get an
AutoCheck vehicle history report online for $29.99. According to AutoCheck, their database is built and maintained by Experian, who has exclusive data sharing relationships with many industry sources who provide Experian with access to exclusive data to available to AutoCheck's competitors. AutoCheck also reports that industry leaders such as NADA guides, CarMax, eBay Motors, Kelly Blue Book, and have chosen to provide AutoCheck vehicle history reports to their customers. AutoCheck recommends that you obtain and AutoCheck vehicle history report in conjunction with other reports to "fill in the gaps" in other vehicle history reports for issues that other providers do not cover. To request an AutoCheck vehicle history report, click here

NMVTIS, or the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System, was developed by the federal government. A vehicle history report from NMVTIS will cost you anywhere from $0.25 to $4.95. NMVTIS is operated and managed by the US Department of Justice. According to NMVTIS, their database provides records relating to current and previous state of title data, title issue dates, latest odometer data, theft history (if any), any title brands, salvage history, and total loss history. To request a NMVTIS vehicle history report for just 25 cents, click here.

Go to a Body Shop you Trust
Take the vehicle to a body shop you trust to determine if your vehicle was in an accident and to get an estimate for accident repairs.  You should also ask the body shop if the accident damage is something that the car dealer you purchased the vehicle from should have seen or known about if they conducted a pre-delivery inspection of the vehicle.  Make sure to get the estimate in writing in case you need it later on.

Contact your State Attorney General
Most states have a consumer protection agency, which is usually headed by the state’s attorney general.  Contact your Attorney General to see if you can work it out with the car dealer with the Attorney General’s help.  The Attorney General may file a lawsuit against a dealer if the Attorney General finds that the dealer has repeatedly violated consumer protection laws in your state.  However, the Attorney General will not file a lawsuit on your behalf.  That means that if you cannot get the issues resolved with the dealer through the Attorney General, then you will need to contact a private attorney file a lawsuit in order to recover your money.

Contact an Auto Fraud Attorney in your State
If you cannot work things out with the dealer, then you should contact an attorney in your state who practices auto fraud or consumer law.  Attorneys who specialize in that area of law will know car dealers common tricks and scams, and will know what your rights are under your state law.  Many state laws require the dealership to pay your attorney fees, so often attorneys who practice auto fraud or consumer law will review your case for free.  To find an attorney in your state, click here.

Beth Wells
Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons, 10 Years Running


  1. Some dealers also offer carfax/autocheck vehicle history reports for free to consumers but I doubt if they tampered them so I suggest to run reports on your own to keep on the safe side. I've been using VINAUdit ad lucky to use a discount coupon

  2. Clay Cooley Chevrolet of Dallas has been serving you as a Metroplex area dealer with professional sales and service for many years. Family owned for over 20 years, Clay and his family have served the community meeting your Sales and Service needs. We believe that selling you a car - taking care of your automotive needs - is not a one-time event; rather we view your purchase as the beginning of a continuous ongoing relationship, the start of an ongoing sales and service bond with you, your family and your friends.

  3. Thanks for sharing such beneficial information with us. Your article is really very enjoyable while reading and please keep sharing more.

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  4. Thank for shred this informative, for more wrecked car auctions, if you want to learn more related information here!

  5. Thanks for taking time sharing this info to us. Here is where trusted dealers go for a free vin decoder and get vehicle history reports