Automobile Dealer Fraud West Virginia
What is a Lemon?
Car manufactures strive to produce quality products, but occasionally they miss their own standards; a vehicle is produced that causes problems for the consumer. This car may be returned to the dealer for repair and if the repairs are unsatisfactory and don’t fix the problem, the manufacture eventually will buy the car back.
When this happens the car is labeled a "lemon" and this status must be disclosed to any future purchaser on the title under the laws of many states. West Virginia is different from other states in the manner in which this information is communicated to the purchaser. Some manufactures have taken advantage of this and used West Virginia to "launder" the titles of these vehicles using a practice called "lemon laundering".
What is Lemon Laundering?
General Motors has taken vehicles that would have to be branded as a "buy-back" or "lemon" in Ohio on the title, and sells them at GM dealer auctions in West Virginia. The GM dealers know the vehicle has a branded title and they pay less for it, and the dealer signs a form acknowledging that it was a buy-back or a manufacturer reacquired vehicle. The disclosure form for the consumer must follow guidelines from the West Virginia Statutes, describing that it must be in all caps and a minimum sized typeface on a separate piece of paper.
Sales of Lemon Cars by Dealers
When the GM dealer sells the vehicle to a consumer, the disclosure form GM uses fails to meet West Virginia requirements and the consumer may not receive adequate notice of the "lemon" status of the vehicle. When they receive their "new" West Virginia title it is not "branded" as a manufacturer’s buy-back and any potential purchaser looking at the title would have no way of knowing the same vehicle would have to be sold as a "lemon" in Ohio.
Lemon laundering occurs when the lemon vehicle resold to an unsuspecting consumer. This laundering of the title allows a dealer to sell the vehicle for more than a similar "branded" vehicle would sell for in a state such as Ohio, where any consumer would know prior to purchase the vehicle had been labeled a "lemon" and they would take that into consideration when determining the price they would be willing pay. The auto accident lawyers of The Bell Law Firm, PLLC can help you if you have been victim to lemon laundering.
What happens if you purchase a lemon from a dealer?
If the vehicle is still under warranty and has a significant impairment, the manufacturer is required by West Virginia Lemon Law to replace your vehicle. This applies to both new and used vehicles.
What happens if the vehicle has a problem that affects its safety? The manufacturer will attempt to fix the problem, whether it involves breaks, steering, exhaust, or other problems. If the problem is not fixed after one attempt, the vehicle is considered a "lemon" under lemon law. From there, manufacturers hold the responsibility of replacing or fixing the vehicle.
What if the manufacturer refuses to replace a lemon vehicle? If a manufacturer won’t replace the defective vehicle, you can file a lawsuit against them. You can seek to replace your lemon vehicle or receive a refund for the full amount.
The NHTSA Statistics Database
A database containing information about recalls, defects, and lawsuits filed against vehicle manufacturers was recently opened to the public. For example, information regarding 14.4 million Firestone tires that were recalled, is included in this database. The information in the database is supplied by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
This database is a valuable resource to consumers, who are supplied with information that could sway them from buying a lemon.
Need Help? Contact Our West Virginia Auto Dealer Fraud Attorney Today
Are you victim to car sales fraud or a dealer scam? Contact the lemon laundering attorneys of The Bell Law Firm, PLLC for a free consultation. You can call us at 304-345-1700 or toll free at 304-345-1700. We offer 100% FREE case reviews and have proudly served injury victims throughout West Virginia for decades.
For those that prefer to send an inquiry online, simply fill out and send the "Free Case Evaluation" form that is located at the top of this page. Any information is strictly secure and a member of our legal team will be in contact with you shortly after receiving your message, to discuss the merits of your claim.