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Pennsylvania Car Dealer Lawyer

Philadelphia Consumer Protection Lawyer Representing Clients Defrauded

by Used Car Dealers in Pennsylvania


Car dealer fraud in Pennsylvania can occur at any step of the car buying process. Car dealers in Philadelphia and the greater Pennsylvania and New Jersey areas are adept at using every trick in the book to defraud customers out of their money or to sell them a vehicle that is defective, or which has the odometer rolled back. Car dealers also defraud customers in the financing of the vehicle or by lying about the advertised price of the car.


Because of the prevalent nature of car dealer fraud in Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Consumer Protection law (also known as The Pennsylvania's Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL) 73 P.S. §§ 201‐1 –201‐9.2) has been passed and is a great weapon to combat a dealer’s fraud. 

A Philadelphia car dealer commits fraud where they obscure a material fact in an advertisement for the vehicle or mislead the buyer in some way that is material to the buyer’s decision to buy the car. Philadelphia car dealers also commit fraud by accepting a deposit for a car, then claiming the bank financing “fell through” and demanding more money, or by claiming the vehicle has not been in any accidents when they should have known that it was.

Finally, one of the most common forms of fraud is where a Philadelphia car dealer gives a prospective buyer a Carfax that shows “no accidents” when, in fact, the dealer knows the vehicle was in an accident and the dealer may have even fixed the damage. Often, the buyer only finds out about the pre-sale accident months or years later when attempting to turn the vehicle in for trade.

 If you are the victim of fraud, contact Pennsylvania car dealer lawyer Michael F. Niznik right away. The sooner your case is evaluated, the sooner you may be able to recover money for the dealer’s misrepresentation.

Ways to Combat Fraud

  • Have the car looked at by a third-party mechanic. If the dealer refuses to let a mechanic of your choice inspect the vehicle, that is a red flag and you should walk away from the deal.

  • Request that an experienced attorney review all paperwork presented by the dealer.

  • Avoid arbitration agreements in the sales documents. These agreements limit your rights.

  • Avoid any agreements that charge you unnecessary fees or that confuse the final amount that you bargained to pay.

New Car Damage Disclosure

Pennsylvania law also requires a car dealer to disclose damage to new motor vehicles. Often this damage occurs during transport or a test drive. Importantly, a car dealer must notify the purchaser of damage if the damage is greater than $500 or 3% of the MSRP of the vehicle.

§ 1970.3 of the New Motor Vehicle Damage Disclosure law states:

(a) Notice to purchaser.--A motor vehicle dealer shall notify the purchaser of a new motor vehicle in writing at the time of sale of any damage or damage repairs incurred by the new motor vehicle, regardless of whether the damaged portion was repaired or replaced to its predamaged condition, which exceeds the greater of $500 or 3% of the manufacturer's suggested retail price. Damage exceeding the disclosure amount shall be disclosed by the dealer when:

(1) the manufacturer or its agent, in accordance with the act of December 22, 1983 (P.L. 306, No. 84), known as the Board of Vehicles Act,1 discloses that, at any time after the manufacturing process is complete, damage occurred or damage repairs were made;

(2) the dealer knows or should know based on facts indicating that other damage or damage repair exists in addition to the damage or repairs required to be disclosed under paragraph (1); or

(3) the combined total of damage or damage repairs made under paragraphs (1) and (2) exceeds the amount specified in this section.

The dealer shall not misrepresent or mislead a purchaser if the purchaser inquires about the existence of damage or damage repairs made.

(b) Damage repair cost calculation.--In determining whether damage disclosure is required, repair costs shall be calculated at the new motor vehicle dealer's retail charge on the date the repairs were made for:

(1) Parts.

(2) Labor multiplied by the time taken to make the repairs as established by a time allowance based on the standard retail repair practices regularly employed by that dealer.

All parts shall be replaced only with new, original equipment manufacturer parts. Replacement of any permanently sealed glass window shall be disclosed to the purchaser regardless of the cost of the replacement window. The value of any permanently sealed glass window replacement shall not be included in the calculation process to determine whether damage disclosure is required under this act. The value of any portion of a motor home designed, used or maintained primarily for human habitation shall not be included in the calculation process to determine whether damage disclosure is required under this act.


For more on the New Motor Vehicle Disclosure Act, please visit:

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