C. Steven Moskos, PA
16 CFR Part 455 Used Motor Vehicle Trade Regulation Rule; Project No. P087604
I am an attorney in Charleston, SC. I handle auto fraud cases which include when a car is sold by a dealer without disclosure of prior wreck damage. It is becoming more common for car dealers to claim that my clients can not prove they were defrauded because the dealers showed the Buyers Guide to the customer. Their argument is that the reverse side of the Buyers Guide lists various defects that could be in the car. They include a bent frame and dog tracking. Dealers claim that prior wreck damage includes these items. "Defects" is not defined on the form. Dealers claim this language alerts customers to the fact that a car may have been damaged during its history. Therefore, the dealer says it did not provide a false representation to the consumer. They then take the position that just the opposite occurred as they informed the customer of the possible damage. They further assert that the customer did not have a right to rely on any representations made by the salesman that the car had never been wrecked since the Buyers Guide clearly says damage could be there. If anything the FTC needs to strengthen the Buyers Guide so consumers (and dealers) know the Buyers Guide only relates to the warranties applicable to the vehicle being sold and it does not relate to damage caused by prior wrecks. Frankly, with mandatory arbitration being forced on consumers, steps need to be taken at the legislative stage to protect consumers' rights. Strengthening the Buyers Guide's rules and regulations would be a good first step.