Beware Car Dealer Police Impersonation and Harassment
Car dealer police impersonation occurs when a dealer employee impersonates police. The law firm of Whitney, LLP represents consumers who are victims of car dealer police impersonation and car dealer harassment.
This blog discusses a case in which Whitney, LLP represents a consumer who was victimized when a Maryland used car dealer impersonated a police officer. The car dealer’s General Manager sent a text message impersonating a police officer with the Baltimore County Police to try and to scare their customer into returning a car.
Police impersonation is a crime.
If you have been the victim of a car dealer impersonating police or harassed by a car dealer, you have legal rights and may be able to recover compensation for economic loss and emotional distress.
We offer Free Legal Evaluations.
Table of Contents
The Car Deal Before Police Impersonation and Harassment
In May 2022, our client went to a Maryland used car dealer and agreed to purchase a vehicle. He signed a finance contract and made a $1,000 down payment. At the time, the dealer did not disclose to him that financing was not complete.
Our client left the dealership with the vehicle and believed that he was good to go.
Dealer Tries to Cancel Transaction Without Returning Down Payment
Several days after the purchase, an employee of the used car dealer called him and insisted that he return to the dealership to complete documentation. When he returned, he was told that he needed a co-signer.
When he explained that he did not have a co-signer, the employee told him that financing had fallen through and he needed to return the vehicle. Our client agreed to return the vehicle as long as his down payment would be returned, which is his right under Maryland’s Spot Delivery Law.
However, the dealer refused to provide his down payment to him, and our client drove away in the vehicle.
General Manager Impersonates Baltimore County Police Officer Police via Text Message
Shortly after leaving the dealership, our client received a text message stating “This is Ofc. Muclaster with Baltimore County Police before I process this report you need to return the vehicle to NAME OF USED CAR DEALER”.
See the actual text message the General Manager sent to our client (the complete phone number and name of the Maryland used car dealer has been redacted for the time being):
The police impersonation was later confirmed by Whitney, LLP’s private investigator, who identified the owner of the phone number and the text’s sender as the General Manager of the dealership.
Car Dealer Calls Customer’s Employer and Says Car Was Stolen
The turmoil didn’t end there. An individual identifying herself as being with “Baltimore County Investigations” called our client’s employer, falsely claiming the vehicle had been reported stolen. This caused further emotional distress and problems for our client.
Car Dealer Illegal Debt Collection Practices
In Maryland, all debt collectors, including car dealers, are prohibited from engaging in illegal debt collection activities.
However, dealers often engage in illegal collection methods.
The Maryland Consumer Debt Collection Act (“CDCA”) prohibits any debt collector from engaging in following abusive practices:
In collecting or attempting to collect an alleged debt a collector may not:
(1) Use or threaten force or violence;
(2) Threaten criminal prosecution, unless the transaction involved the violation of a criminal statute;
(3) Disclose or threaten to disclose information which affects the debtor’s reputation for credit worthiness with knowledge that the information is false;
(4) Except as permitted by statute, contact a person’s employer with respect to a delinquent indebtedness before obtaining final judgment against the debtor;
(5) Except as permitted by statute, disclose or threaten to disclose to a person other than the debtor or his spouse or, if the debtor is a minor, his parent, information which affects the debtor’s reputation, whether or not for credit worthiness, with knowledge that the other person does not have a legitimate business need for the information;
(6) Communicate with the debtor or a person related to him with the frequency, at the unusual hours, or in any other manner as reasonably can be expected to abuse or harass the debtor;
(7) Use obscene or grossly abusive language in communicating with the debtor or a person related to him;
(8) Claim, attempt, or threaten to enforce a right with knowledge that the right does not exist;
(9) Use a communication which simulates legal or judicial process or gives the appearance of being authorized, issued, or approved by a government, governmental agency, or lawyer when it is not;
(10) Engage in unlicensed debt collection activity in violation of the Maryland Collection Agency Licensing Act; or
(11) Engage in any conduct that violates §§ 804 through 812 of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Car dealer illegal debt collection often occurs when a car dealer simply wants a consumer to do something, such as return a vehicle or pay more money, but they have no legal basis to make the customer do so. In these situations, it is not uncommon that car dealers threaten consumers with police involvement, harassing phone calls, constant text messages and other methods that consumers do not like.
When a car dealer engages in harassing behavior to try a force a consumer to do something, that consumer has legal rights and may be able to sue the car dealer and recover compensation.
Lawsuit Filed After Car Dealer Impersonates Police
After enduring the car dealer’s illegal and abusive practices, our client searched for a lawyer to sue a car dealer, and found Whitney, LLP. Whitney, LLP filed a lawsuit was filed that included allegations the dealer had violated the following laws:
- Maryland’s Spot Delivery Law – the dealer failed to provide required notices that financing was not approved, and refused to return the down payment at the time our client returned the vehicle.
- Maryland Consumer Debt Collection Practices Act – the dealer engaged in abusive debt collection practices including impersonating police, harassing our client and calling his employer.
Attorneys for Car Dealer Police Impersonation and Harassment – Whitney, LLP
The attorneys of Whitney, LLP have experience representing consumers in claims against car dealers. We have represented hundreds of consumers who purchased cars in Maryland or whose cases have a Maryland connection.
From used car dealers to the some of the largest dealers in the United States, we help consumers fight back against police impersonation, harassment, deception, fraud and other unfair practices.
If you have been harassed by a car dealer, call Whitney, LLP. We offer Free Legal Evaluations.
Call Whitney, LLP at 410 583 8000, or use our Quick Contact Form, to discuss your potential case. Here is our YouTube Channel for more videos on car dealer legal issues. Prior results are not a guarantee of future results, and all cases are different.
Whitney, LLP YouTube Video On Car Dealer Police Impersonation
The following YouTube video made by Whitney, LLP further describes this case.