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Deceived by a Dealer? Here’s Your Next Move.

Buying a car is a major investment for most people. It is not just the money spent, but also the time and effort put into finding the perfect car. Unfortunately, not all car dealerships are honest and trustworthy. Sometimes, people end up being deceived by a dealer. This can be a frustrating and disappointing experience. But fear not, here are some steps you can take if you find yourself in such a situation.

Step 1: Assess the Situation

The first thing to do is to assess the situation objectively. Look at the facts and try to determine if you have indeed been deceived by the dealer. Some common ways dealers deceive customers include:

  • Misrepresenting the condition of the car
  • Hiding known defects or damage
  • Providing false information about the car’s history
  • Using deceptive sales tactics, such as bait-and-switch

If you believe any of these have happened to you, then it is time to take action.

Step 2: Gather Evidence

Before you can take any action, you need to have evidence to support your claim. This could include:

  • Copies of any contracts or agreements
  • Receipts or invoices for any payments made
  • Photos or videos of the car and any damages
  • Written statements from any witnesses
  • Any correspondence with the dealer, such as emails or text messages.

Having this evidence will help you build a strong case and increase your chances of getting a favorable outcome.

Step 3: Contact the Dealer

The next step is to contact the dealer and let them know what has happened. Be clear and specific about your concerns and provide any evidence you have. It is important to stay calm and professional during this conversation, as getting angry or emotional will not help your case.

In some cases, the dealer may be willing to address your concerns and make things right. However, if they refuse to cooperate, it is time to take more serious action.

Step 4: File a Complaint

If the dealer is not willing to work with you, then it is time to file a complaint. There are several agencies you can contact to file a complaint, including:

  • The Better Business Bureau (BBB)
  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
  • Your state’s Attorney General’s Office

Make sure to provide all the evidence you have and be as specific as possible about your concerns. These agencies will investigate your complaint and may take action against the dealer if they find any wrongdoing.

Step 5: Consider Legal Action

If all else fails, you may need to consider taking legal action against the dealer. This can be a costly and time-consuming process, but it may be the only way to get the justice you deserve. You should consult with a lawyer who specializes in consumer protection to determine the best course of action.

In conclusion, being deceived by a car dealer can be a frustrating and disappointing experience. However, by following these steps, you can increase your chances of getting a satisfactory outcome. Remember to stay calm, gather evidence, and be specific about your concerns. With persistence and determination, you can get the justice you deserve.


  1. Can I return a car if I was deceived by the dealer?

    • It depends on the state you live in and the specifics of your case. Contact your state’s Attorney General’s Office for more information.
  2. How can I avoid being deceived by a car dealer in the first place?

    • Do your research on the dealership and the car you are interested in buying. Ask questions and get everything in writing.
  3. What should I do if the dealer refuses to provide me with written documentation?

    • This is a red flag. Consider going to a different dealership or consulting with a lawyer.
  4. How long do I have to file a complaint?

    • It varies by agency and state. Contact the appropriate agency as soon as possible to find out.
  5. Can I sue a car dealer for emotional distress?

    • It is difficult to do so, as emotional distress claims require strong evidence. Consult with a lawyer to determine if this is a viable option for you.
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