Attorney at Law
Public Roundtables: Protecting Consumers in the Sale and Leasing of Motor Vehicles, Project No. P104811
I have been representing motor vehicle buyers for 21 years as the primary area of my practice. In my experience, the vast majority of consumers do not understand their rights when buying a vehicle, a fact that is known to all dealers and used by unethical dealers to their advantage. Contracts written by these dealers are frequently in violation of state and/or federal law, particularly in the area of disclosures and the Truth in Lending Act, always to the benefit of the seller. Used cars are frequently misrepresented to the buyer, to the benefit of the seller, most often through non-compliance with mandatory disclosure of unrepaired frame damage or prior use. Auto dealers and buyers are never in equal bargaining positions due to the seller's superior knowledge of the product, the contract, financing, and sales methods. These sales methods include fairly sophisticated psychological manipulation of the customer intended to result in the buyer assenting to terms that are not understood and paying for unknown or unwanted products. The dealers enjoy a strong lobby in the state capitol, weak regulation by the Department of Motor Vehicles, and rare prosecution of frequent criminal acts. If not for plaintiff's attorneys, there would be almost no oversight of dealers' abusive practices in this state. If consumer complaints to the FTC are infrequent, it is in all likelihood because most consumers never learn the law was violated by the dealer when the consumer made a purchase. Thank you for the opportunity to comment on an important issue.