Forgery and fraud at car dealerships in finance contracts and credit applications happen more frequently than you might think. These criminal acts can place buyers in an undesirable contract that can be difficult to escape from without legal help. The consumer who detects fraud or forgery may have a strong case against the dealership that committed the offense. If you suspect you were a victim of a dishonest dealership, you should consult with an experienced car contract fraud attorney today.
At Whitney, LLP, our attorneys have experience representing consumers in claims and cases involving fraudulent and forged sales and lease contracts and credit finance applications. We can often unwind bad deals and recover compensation for car buyers who were deceived by unfair practices. We have extensive experience handling a wide variety of consumer and car dealership fraud cases, and we are prepared to use that experience to handle your claim. We have sued many car dealerships over these unlawful practices.
Here is a September 2020 Blog Post on the Top 10 Schemes that Maryland Dealerships have done to their customers who become our clients.
To begin your free legal consultation or to get help discovering if your contract contains fraud or forgery, call Whitney, LLP at (410) 583-8000, or contact us online using our Quick Contact Form. We offer Free Consultations, and our clients pay no out-of-pocket expenses or attorney’s fees in auto fraud cases. Some of our prior auto fraud case results, including a $50,000 settlement in a forgery claim against Sheehy Hyundai in Waldorf, MD, can be reviewed here: Auto Fraud and Forgery Case Results.
Why and How Car Dealerships Commit Fraud
Both new and used car dealerships will risk committing fraud against a consumer to increase the amount of money they earn on a particular contract. The commission-based compensation scheme of many car dealerships is the motivation behind employees’ attempts to defraud their customers. There are various ways that a car dealership can commit fraud on a sale or lease contract, including but not limited to forging signatures or altering a contract after the consumer has already purchased a vehicle.
When a consumer is buying a car from a dealership, they will typically negotiate the price of the car with the salesman, and then negotiate the interest rate and available add-ons, or after-market products, with the finance manager. For example, after a buyer has agreed to purchase a vehicle, they will be offered additional products like vehicle service contracts, wheel and tire packages, dent and ding protection, and GAP insurance. The sale of add-ons can earn finance managers thousands of dollars, so the incentive to sell these to customers, whether by hook or by crook, is high.
Once the vehicle price is agreed upon and you have chosen any additional products you want, the finance manager should give you a copy of the contract and all other documents you signed. Then, they send the contract documents to the bank to finalize the contract and secure financing. However, before sending the contract to the bank, the finance manager may forge your signature on a new contract, alter the terms, and add after-market products to the contract. Watch either of the videos on this page to learn more about forgery at car dealership, or read our blog on our $50,000 settlement in a forgery claim against Sheehy Hyundai in Waldorf, MD,
How to Discover a Fraudulent Vehicle Contract
There are several ways that a consumer can discover whether a car seller forged their signature on a contract. The first red flag that your vehicle contract may have been altered or forged is if your monthly payments or interest rate are different than what you originally agreed upon. Even if your monthly payment is just a dollar higher, it is a red flag for fraud and forgery.
If your monthly payment is higher than you agreed to, the interest rate is different, or there is another difference in your contract, you should contact the finance / lease company to get a copy of the documents the dealership sent to them. Then, simply compare those documents against the copy you received at the time of sale. A quick review will show any different signatures and terms. If you find a difference, it is time to contact an experienced attorney to discuss your options, including but not limited to filing an MVA complaint and suing the car dealership.
Car Dealership Credit Application Fraud
A common tactic of dishonest finance managers is to secretly inflate a consumer’s income and decrease their monthly residential rent or mortgage payments on the credit application. By submitting a fraudulent credit application, a dealership can sell a vehicle to a consumer that the consumer cannot afford. As we all know, it is easy to get carried away at a car dealership with that beautiful new car right in front of you. But, when reality sets in when the payment is due, the immediate problem of payment is not the dishonest dealership’s problem, it is now the consumer’s problem.
When this happens, the victim of the credit application fraud has serious legal rights, and may be able to return the vehicle and recover compensation for economic loss and emotional distress caused by the fraud.
Our Consumer Fraud Lawyers Can Help You Sue a Dishonest Car Dealership
If a dishonest car dealership deceived you with forgeries, fraud, or false information on a credit application, you should speak with a consumer fraud lawyer today. At Whitney, LLP, our consumer protection lawyers can help you examine your car contract for fraud and may be able to help you sue the car dealership that deceived you and recover compensation for your damages. To schedule your Free Consultation, call Whitney, LLP at (410) 583-8000, or contact us online using our Quick Contact form. Our clients pay no out-of-pocket expenses or attorney’s fees in auto fraud cases.