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What Kind of Lawyer Do You Need to Sue a Car Dealership

What Kind of Lawyer Do You Need to Sue a Car Dealership

If you believe a car dealership defrauded or deceived you during the sale of a vehicle, you may want to sue them. But what kind of lawyer do you need to sue a car dealership?

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The Type of Lawyers That Deal With Cars

The types of lawyers that deal with car issues are auto fraud or consumer protection lawyers specializing in auto dealer disputes.

Think of them as Attorneys for Cars. What makes them especially helpful with resolving a bad car deal or suing a car dealership is that they are experienced in relevant laws like:

Auto Fraud Lawyers Can Represent You Against Deceptive Car Dealers
  • State consumer protection acts
  • Federal laws regulating car sales
  • State vehicle lemon laws
  • Laws prohibiting false advertising and fraud

These attorneys can evaluate if the dealer violated the law during your transaction. They can explain your options and legal rights.

If you have a valid case, they can represent you in negotiations or litigation against the dealership. Many work on a contingency fee basis.

Do you Need an Attorney To Sue a Car Dealer?

The answer is no if your claim amount is under $10,000; however, that limit varies from state to state, so you would have to check on your state’s small claims court limits.

Where I was a dealer here in Florida, it was $8,000.

If your claim is over the limit for small claims court, then you must file a lawsuit in civil court, where it is highly recommended that you hire an attorney.

Reasons To Sue a Car Dealership

Here are some common reasons why people will sue a car dealership:

  1. Odometer fraud: If the dealership misrepresented the actual mileage on a used vehicle by tampering with or rolling back the odometer. This is illegal under state and federal laws..
  2. Failing to disclose accident history or major defects: Dealerships are required to disclose known major defects or prior accident damage to a used vehicle. Failing to do so could constitute fraud.
  3. Bait and switch advertising: Advertising vehicles at a low price to lure customers in, but then telling them that vehicle is not actually available or pressuring them into a more expensive option.
  4. Charging illegal fees: Some dealerships may try to tack on bogus fees that were not properly disclosed, like unnecessary “dealer prep” fees.
  5. Breach of warranty: If the dealer fails to honor the terms of an expressed written warranty on the vehicle.
  6. Financing fraud: Misrepresenting a buyer’s creditworthiness, forging credit applications, or failing to properly disclose financing terms and costs.
  7. Failing to provide title: Not transferring the title to the buyer after the vehicle is paid for.

Know the Most Common Car Dealer Scams

Familiarize yourself with typical dealer scams before meeting with a lawyer:

Know the Most Common Car Dealer Scams
  • Odometer fraud – Illegally altering the mileage on a car’s odometer to show lower miles
  • History fraud – Concealing crash damage, flood damage, or other defects
  • Spot delivery scam – Dealer claims your financing fell through after you took the car and makes you sign a new contract
  • Bait and switch advertising – Dealer advertises a car they don’t actually have to lure you in
  • Added fees or products – Dealer tacks on unnecessary “add-ons” to increase the price

Understand Laws That Protect Car Buyers

Understand Laws That Protect Car Buyers

In your consultation, ask the attorney to explain key laws like:

State Consumer Protection LawsProtect against deceptive business practices like false advertising
Federal Odometer ActProhibits odometer tampering
Federal Warranty ActRequires dealers to honor warranties
State Vehicle Lemon LawsHelp buyers with defective new cars
Various Consumer Protection Laws Related To Cars

Find an Attorney Experienced in Auto Dealer Lawsuits

To find an attorney for car related issues or car dealership fraud, use the following resources:

Look for a lawyer with specific expertise in auto dealer disputes and litigation when possible. Key credentials to seek out:

  • Membership in lawyer associations like the National Association of Consumer Advocates
  • Past experience handling auto fraud cases
  • Knowledge of state and national consumer protection laws
  • History of favorable verdicts and settlements against dealerships

Understand How Auto Dealer Lawsuits Work

In your initial meeting, ask the lawyer to walk through the auto dealer litigation process:

  • How long do these cases typically take to resolve?
  • What are the steps in a lawsuit against a dealership?
  • What kind of evidence is needed to prove fraud?
  • What are the possible legal remedies and damages you can recover?

Make sure you understand timeframes, costs, and possible outcomes before deciding if litigation is your best option.


With the right legal help, you may be able to get compensation or remedies if you were the victim of car dealer fraud. Do your research to find an experienced auto fraud attorney who can evaluate your case and counsel you on the best course of action.

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2 Responses

  1. So i had a recall for my 2015 ram pro master city to do an oil change n emissions I was to drive the vehicle after they put the oil in it for 1200 miles around. N take it back so I did n my car was running fine n had no apparent leaks that can be seen after took back the gave me a new engine n told me I need ed a new radiator I said I didn’t have the money twice n when I went to go pick it up it was leaking pretty bad they said cause it was for the old hoses n there was a hole in the radiator it wasn’t doing that when I brought it in n if I were to tell them I’m not going to take it there is a 125 dallors a day for being on property so I took drove home n it over heated n engine blew head gasket n now I’m wondering why they didn’t give me my vehicle back better tor same as when I took it in I feel they did something on purpose to have me want to buy a new radiator when I dnt have the money now I’m out completely of a vehicle I also have pictures I know my radiator didn’t look like that when I took it in n if I went 1200 miles with out a problem n took it back why when I left it ruined my new motor

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Picture of Steve Momot - Author

Steve Momot - Author

Steve, a seasoned expert in the automotive industry, formerly held a car dealer license in Florida. With extensive experience spanning across car trading and mechanical work, he founded Autohitch. His mission? To guide both buyers and sellers through the intricate maze of car purchasing, ensuring a seamless and informed experience. Outside of the automotive world, Steve has a passion for fishing and capturing the beauty of nature through photography.


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