Advice on pursuing complaint to Texas Attorney General-used car purchase

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May 31, 2018
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#1
Hello,

I am asking for feedback regarding a car I purchased in December of 2016. I currently have emailed a manager at the dealership and am waiting for a response. Should I wait and see what they say or go ahead and file a complaint with the Texas Attorney General?

This past weekend, I went to carmax to have our vehicle appraised. When we sat down with the sales rep, she went through an extensive checklist and one of the questions was, "Has the car ever been in an accident?" We confidently said No. Upon returning to follow up with her about our appraisal, she went through the checklist again and advised us that the car indeed had been in a wreck on the right hand side. That there had been frame damage and it was extensive. I felt very embarrassed and the worse part of it all is I put down 5k on a previously wrecked vehicle. This information was never disclosed to us by the salesman and I feel that I was definitely taken advantage of and humiliated. Grant it, I should have done my research beforehand and ran a report on the vehicle but no where on the website did it give this information and they provided a report as well, and it said nothing of the car being in a wreck previously. If I would have known, this, I would have never purchased the vehicle, much less put 5k down.

I welcome any constructive criticism, feedback and opinions.

Thank you so much,
Stephani
 
Last edited:

Neil Maley

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#2
I’ve not heard of someone buying a car and not asking for a Catfax report. Do you have proof Carnac knew the car was in an accident?

You would have to prove that Carmax knew the car had been in an accident when they sold it. Without a report I am not sure you can prove they knew.
 
May 31, 2018
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#3
Actually, I bought the car from another dealership. I went to carmax just to have it appraised and they pulled the report with the history showing it had been in an accident. I know I should have done my research before purchasing the car but at the same time, the dealership didnt disclose the info either. I bought the car in December of 2016. I was the 3rd owner. The first owner was the one with the accident.
 

Neil Maley

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#4
But you still have to prove the other dealer knew about the damage when they sold it to you. Without a carfax report, that is very difficult to do especially if the other dealer no longer has records or a Carfax report from 2015. What kind of report did the dealer give you? Was it something that they could have modified?

Have you called the dealership and sent them the Carfax report showing the damage had been done before you bought?

I think you should file a report with your Attorney General. If they falsified the report they gave you you might have a good case to sue.

Have you checked your Consumer Affairs Deot and AG to see if there are any other complaints like this?

I would contact the dealer that sold it and tell them what you found and that you will be filing a complaint with the AG.
 
Mar 14, 2018
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#6
I think it would be very hard for a sophisticated entity like a used car dealer to claim they didn't know about the collision damage. Are they going to maintain that they buy their inventory without inspecting the cars or obtaining history reports? That would defy belief.

The question is: can you show that they didn't disclose the collision damage to you (or is it your word against theirs)? You mention they provided you with some kind of report--What was in it?

If they provided a condition report or other disclosure and it didn't mention the collision damage, I think you have a very strong case. I'd wait to see what they come back to you with. If it isn't satisfactory, I'd suggest consulting with an attorney. Usually this consultation is free. You can then decide what the best next steps would be
 
Likes: Neil Maley
May 31, 2018
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#8
I think it would be very hard for a sophisticated entity like a used car dealer to claim they didn't know about the collision damage. Are they going to maintain that they buy their inventory without inspecting the cars or obtaining history reports? That would defy belief.

The question is: can you show that they didn't disclose the collision damage to you (or is it your word against theirs)? You mention they provided you with some kind of report--What was in it?

If they provided a condition report or other disclosure and it didn't mention the collision damage, I think you have a very strong case. I'd wait to see what they come back to you with. If it isn't satisfactory, I'd suggest consulting with an attorney. Usually this consultation is free. You can then decide what the best next steps would be
The accident happened in October of 2014 with right side angular impact. The passenger side front and back door were repaired, and the quarter panel. This is very extensive damage. I'm going to give them until the end of today to respond. Should I tell them that I am going to report them to the attorney general or just do it? I will definitely consult with an attorney if their response is not satisfactory.

This was the dealerships listing when they were selling the car:
F SPORT BY LEXUS, STILL UNDER FACTORY WARRANTY, and FULLY LOADED. F-Sport Package (Aluminum Sport Pedals, F-Sport Badging, F-Sport Tuned Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS), Glove Box w/Key, LED Headlamps, LFA Inspired TFT Instrumentation, Silver Performance Trim, Sport Shift Knob, Sport Steering Wheel, Stainless Steel Scuff Plates, and Unique Front Fascia/Grille), F-Sport Performance Exhaust Upgrade, Luxury Package and Tech Package (Blind Spot Monitor, Driver Memory Seat, Electrochromatic Mirror w/BSM and Memory, Lane Departure Alert, LED Headlamps w/Auto High Beam, Power Tilt/Telescopic Steering Wheel w/Memory, Rain-Sensing Windshield Wipers, and Wood Interior Trim), Navigation System Package (DVD Player and Rear Back-Up Camera), Rioja Red w/F Sport Nuluxe Seat Trim, Heated & Ventilated Front Bucket Seats, Navigation System, Navigation System w/Mark Levinson Premium Audio, and Wheels: 18 F-Sport Aluminum Alloy. This outstanding 2015 Lexus IS is the low-mileage car you have been looking to get your hands on. Don't let the drumming of road noise wear you down. Bask in the quiet comfort of the cabin of this Lexus IS 350. Shop me first, shop me last, either way, come see Clay! Our Fresh Start Credit Approval Can Change Your Life! It gives you the opportunity to establish or re-establish your credit on a late model pre-owned vehicle while reporting your payment history to all credit bureaus nation-wide. We know that bad things happen to good people
 

johnbaker

Verified Member
Oct 2, 2014
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#9
@sespin1064 Did you ask for a vehicle history before you purchased? Was it certified pre-owned?

Depending on the state, the dealership may not have to disclose to you that it was in an accident if you didn't ask. What you posted from the dealership is all true (I'm guessing). It doesn't say "clean history" or "damage free." If they didn't specifically deceive you, you may not have a case. It might be worth a call to a lawyer to find out.

Good luck...
 
Mar 17, 2015
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#10
Most used purchases are "as is" unless the dealer specifically notated a warranty. Did the dealership advertise the vehicle as "never been in an accident" or something similar? The type of claim you are wanting to file falls under the Deceptive Trade Practices Act and you are going to have to prove that there were false or misleading statements. If the dealer handed you paperwork from another database showing there were no accidents, but now carfax is showing one, then that is a problem. If you were never shown a vehicle history and did not ask, I am not sure it falls into the false or misleading category. The law is much more strict for flood damaged/salvaged vehicles as this must be disclosed prior to purchase, no asking necessary. You may still want to contact an attorney who specializes in this, as they may think there is a case.

After proving up the false/misleading statement or advertisement, then you are going to have to prove up damages. Which is hard to do, as insurance companies will rarely pay out the loss of value claim when cars have been in accidents. Most repairs get the vehicle back to its normal condition, so insurance companies find that there is minimal loss of value.

Also, there are specific steps you must take to file under the DTPA (you are going to have to certify mail a demand letter to the dealership) before you can file through the courts.

I would be interested in hearing what the dealer has to say about the non-disclosure.
 
May 31, 2018
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#11
I'm still waiting on a response. I'm trying to do my due diligence and give them a chance to see how they will rectify the situation and what they will have to offer and say.
 

Neil Maley

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#12
I'm still waiting on a response. I'm trying to do my due diligence and give them a chance to see how they will rectify the situation and what they will have to offer and say.

I think you are going about this the right way- give them an opportunity to correct it first. Is that dealership near you where you could go in and show the owner the Carfax report?

Otherwise Tanya gave you good advice.
 
Mar 14, 2018
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#13
Texas law states the following is an unlawful deceptive trade practice: "failing to disclose information concerning goods or services which was known at the time of the transaction if such failure to disclose such information was intended to induce the consumer into a transaction into which the consumer would not have entered had the information been disclosed."

Personally, i would consult with a lawyer before going to the AG. This dealer sounds sleazy and you may need the threat of escalating legal and publicity pressure to get them to move.
 
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Neil Maley

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#14
smd I think that is the same in ANY state. The problem is going to be proving the dealer knew it. Our letter writer said "and they provided a report as well ".

I would like to see the report. Thats why I asked if it was a report that could have been altered.
 
Mar 14, 2018
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#16
smd I think that is the same in ANY state. The problem is going to be proving the dealer knew it. Our letter writer said "and they provided a report as well ".

I would like to see the report. Thats why I asked if it was a report that could have been altered.
Maybe. But it will be tough to argue they didn't know when I'm sure the dealership routinely gets a vehicle history report and performs an inspection before purchasing each car. They might also try to argue that they did inform the OP the car had been in an accident, but that will also be tough unless it's in writing somewhere.

That's why I think the OP's best approach would be to contact an attorney. This dealership strikes me as the kind of business that will try to stonewall a customer forever, but will back down rapidly when they receive a certified letter on an attorney's letterhead.
 
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May 31, 2018
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#17
Well, I gave him all weekend to respond and nothing. Ironically, a salesperson called, nothing to do with the situation asking if I was interested in trading in the car and giving me the best value possible for the trade in. I briefly told her the situation and she was like oh yes, the person that reached out to you is the Finance Director. I think it's super shady that he wont return my emails nor has taken the time to call me but will offer he best deal on a trade.

I will be contacting an attorney today to set up an appointment.
 
Apr 10, 2017
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#18
Feign interest in a trade-in just to get him to talk to you. Tell him you will be even more interested if he can help you straighten this out.
 
May 31, 2018
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#19
I just received a response from the Finance Director, and this is what he stated.

Good morning, I have gone through everything I cannot find and have no idea why you were not told it had an accident or why it was sold with frame damage. The only thing I can help with is having you come here to trade the vehicle in and will give you a appraisal without the damage to trade you out of it.

Is this sufficient? Should I just take this or try to go the legal route?
 

Neil Maley

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#20
Do NOT delete that email. Do you want to trade the car in and get a new vehicle from them? If you don't - I would suggest finding an attorney that offers a free consultation and seeing what they say about suing. I would also file a complaint with the Attorney General in your state as well. If they are doing this to other people, the AG needs to know and without people filing complaints, nothing can ever be done.

Do you know what the book value of the car would be if it hadn't had the accident?