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Used Car Dealership Advertising Requirements


In Pennsylvania, automobile dealers that sell used cars are required to comply with specific advertising rules put in place by the state legislature. Those who fail to follow these rules and who sell vehicles to unsuspecting customers can be held accountable in court, so if you purchased a vehicle from a dealer and it did not meet the standards set by state law, it is critical to speak with an experienced Philadelphia used car fraud lawyer who can help you seek damages for your losses.

Unfair or Deceptive Acts

Car dealerships are required to follow specific rules when offering used cars for sale. Under these rules, certain advertising tactics are considered to be unfair or deceptive in nature and are punishable by law, including:

  • Using type, size, location, style, sound, lighting, or color in such a way that customers are misled as to the true nature of the item being offered for sale;
  • Misrepresenting the size, inventory, or nature of the seller’s business;
  • Misrepresenting the ability to offer price reductions; and
  • Failing to sell a vehicle under warranty or at the listed price.

In fact, the following activities will automatically be considered prima facie evidence of a plan on the dealer’s part to not sell the vehicles as advertised:

  • Refusing to show, display, or sell vehicles according to the terms of an advertisement;
  • Refusing to take orders for advertised goods or taking orders at a price greater than that at which they were advertised;
  • Delivering defective or unusable vehicles;
  • Accepting deposits for vehicles and then switching the purchaser to a higher priced vehicle; and
  • Failing to sell a vehicle under warranty or at the price as advertised; and
  • Using a sales plan that is designed to prevent salespersons from selling vehicles at the advertised price.

Aside from refraining from these types of activities, dealers are also required to make certain disclosures to potential buyers, including that a vehicle:

  • Has a bent, cracked, or twisted frame;
  • Has a cracked engine block or head;
  • Was unable to pass State inspection;
  • Has a damaged, defective, or deteriorated transmission;
  • Was damaged by flood; and
  • Has a damaged or defective differential.

Dealers who fail to make these disclosures face serious penalties, including both temporary and permanent injunctions to prohibit the use of similar tactics when selling to customers. Courts also have discretion to require the dealer to return the money or property obtained from the victim through fraudulent means. In fact, courts can also award up to three times the actual damages sustained by plaintiffs, in addition to reimbursement for attorney fees and other reasonable costs.

Call Today to Speak with an Experienced Used Car Fraud Lawyer in Philadelphia

If you recently purchased a vehicle that was not roadworthy or you were otherwise misled as to the vehicle’s true condition, please contact dedicated used car fraud attorney Louis S. Schwartz at CONSUMERLAWPA.com to discuss your legal options. Initial consultations are conducted free of charge, so please don’t hesitate to call or contact us online.



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