New Car “Dealer Installed” Accessories Claims

Whitney, LLP is currently evaluating potential cases against new car dealerships arising out of certain “Dealer Installed” charges being added to the purchase price of the vehicle.  Under Maryland law, consumers may have claims arising out of being charged for “Dealer Installed” options and accessories that (1) were not actually installed or provided, or (2)  for being charged extra for features that actually came with the vehicle as a standard feature.  

If you purchased a vehicle from a car dealership and had dealer installed charges added to the purchase price of the vehicle, the auto fraud consumer attorneys at Whitney, LLP would be happy to speak with you and provide a free consultation.  

Examples of Wrongful “Dealer Installed” Accessories Claims

Several examples of consumer claims for wrongful “Dealer Installed” accessories and options are as follows:

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Window Sticker Addenda

 

1. Charging for “accessories” that come with the vehicle as standard features.

Charging $895 for a “Spare Tire Kit”, when the vehicle already comes with a spare tire kit, which is often listed on the original Window Sticker as an “Included” feature, provides the customer a basis for claims if they were charged for this.

2. Failing to provide an accurate description of the Dealer Installed Charge.

Similarly, charging a customer $1,199 for “Emerg. Roadside”, without a clear and specific description of what “Emerg. Roadside” actually is, provides the customer a basis for claims if they were charged with this. Namely, if “Emerg. Roadside for $1,199.00” was accurately described for what it is, which is for a manufacturer’s roadside assistance kit that sells for between $40-$60 at new car dealerships, no customer who received an accurate description would be willing to purchase it for $1,199.00.  A customer would also have a claim if they were charged for this and the item was never added to their vehicle. 

3. Charging for accessories that were never installed on the vehicle.

A “rear bumper applique” is a fancy term for a piece of rubber that sticks on the top of the bumper on a car to prevent the bumper from being scratched when luggage or other items are placed on it. They sell for about $40 online. Putting aside the extreme price  that the dealership charges of $404, if the dealer did not actually install a “rear bumper applique” on a car, but charged for it, the customer has a claim for damages.

A picture of what a “rear bumper applique” looks like it is below, next to a photo of a car without the applique installed.

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Installed Rear Bumper Applique

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Vehicle without a Rear Bumper Applique installed

Maryland Law on Dealer Installed Options and Accessories Charges

Maryland law has many regulations that car dealerships must follow.  Maryland has specific requirements for dealerships charging additional money for dealer installed options. The  Maryland Transportation Code Ann., Section 15-311(b)(3), states as follows:  “Contents of new vehicle sales contracts. — In addition to the information required by subsection (a) of this section, a contract for the sale of a new vehicle shall include: A clear and specific description of each extra item and each extra charge not included in the base price of the vehicle ordered by the buyer.”  Underlying this law is the notion that the Dealer must not charge extra for an item already included in the base price of the vehicle the customer is purchasing.

The law requires that on the vehicle sales contract, or Buyer’s Order, the Dealers must clearly describe not just the amount of the “dealer installed” charge, but provide a “clear and specific description” of what it is the customer is actually being charged for.

Maryland law appears to impose a duty of honesty on the Dealer and its sales staff.  Maryland law prohibits car dealerships and their salesmen from making “material misrepresentations” to customers, and specifically states that dealerships and their salesmen cannot commit fraud as part of selling a car:

 1. The Maryland Transportation Code Ann., 15-312(b) titled “Prohibited Acts – – Vehicles Sales Transactions,” reads as follows: “Making material misrepresentations in obtaining vehicle sales contracts. – A dealer or an agent or employee of a dealer may not make any material misrepresentations in obtaining a vehicle sales contract.

 2. The Maryland Transportation Code Ann., 15-312(c) titled “Prohibited Acts – – Vehicles Sales Transactions,” reads as follows: “Fraud – – A dealer or an agent or employee of a dealer may not commit any fraud in the execution of or any material alteration of a contract, power of attorney, or other document incident to a sales transaction.

What To Do If You Paid for Wrongful Dealer Installed Options

Contact the auto consumer fraud attorneys at Whitney, LLP for a free consultation on your dealer installed accessories claims. If you have purchased a vehicle from a Maryland car dealership and have questions or concerns about charges for dealer installed options or accessories, or about any other issues with your vehicle, such as the vehicle’s accident and damage history not being disclosed, contact us for a free consultation. We will need to review your vehicle sales contract, Buyer’s Order and any other paperwork you were provided, and discuss your conversations with the Dealer staff.

Our attorneys’ fees are recovered from any compensation we recover for our clients, and our clients are never asked to pay any fees or expenses out of pocket. Whitney, LLP’s phone number is 410 583 8000, or use our Quick Contact form.

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