Vehicle Title Washing
There are numerous cases of this auto fraud, but here are some examples how vehicle title washing affects consumers:
A California college student purchased a car from a major franchised dealer who maintained that the vehicle was “certified” and had passed a “100-point inspection.” The buyer began experiencing problems immediately after purchase. First, the steering rack had to be replaced. Then, she discovered the frame was bent, which made the vehicle unsafe and unstable. The tires wore unevenly. The trunk leaked. The buyer had the car inspected by an independent repair shop and learned that the vehicle had been involved in a serious wreck. When the car was rebuilt, the workmanship was so poor that it rendered the vehicle unstable. The buyer confronted the dealer, who refused to take the car back. She hired an attorney and filed a lawsuit to get out of the deal. This is a typical case of vehicle title washing.
A Chicago-area businesswoman bought a car from what she thought was a reputable dealer but later learned that the car had been rebuilt after a wreck. A mechanic found the engine was not properly lined up in the chassis and that parts of the car had been welded together where bolts normally are used. During a four-year-long court suit, the woman’s attorneys learned that the wrecked car had been purchased by an out-of-state backyard mechanic who had tried to fix it up and then sold it to a repair shop in another state—where a couple purchased it and later traded it in.
A 73-year-old Northern California woman was awarded $100,000 in punitive damages in a lawsuit accusing a dealer of selling her and her late husband a used car without disclosing that it had been in a crash.