Undercover Sting Catches Illegal Car Dealers
Car buyers make a big investment and while there are some laws to protect them, such as the California Lemon Law, many vehicle buyers who are victims of scams end up having essentially no recourse. This is especially true in circumstances where buyers purchase vehicles from illegal car dealers.
Illegal car dealers are, unfortunately, very common and they can end up taking consumers for a lot of money, leaving buyers with few options for recovering the cash they lost. Just recently, ABC 7 reported on one of these illegal dealers who was caught in a sting – but unfortunately, there are many more.
Illegal Car Dealers are Caught in a Sting
According to ABC, neighbors regularly complain about a particular area that has become a haven for illegal car dealers. The dealers allegedly take many of the public parking spaces in the area to park unregistered cars along the street where they can be sold. Many of the cars are inoperable, and others have serious issues.
Parking the vehicles on the street is illegal, as unregistered cars are not allowed to be parked on city streets. Many of the cars also block sidewalks, which is also illegal, or are doubled parked in violation of the law. Many of the people selling them are also breaking other rules, as state law prohibits listing more than five cars for sale over the course of the year without a car dealer's license.
Both illegal dealers and some auto body shops blatantly flout all of the rules and when ABC 7 conducted an investigation into the behavior of these unlawful dealers, they were able to find one man who had six cars for sale at the same time all listed with the same telephone number.
ABC 7 spoke to the man who was selling them. The man indicated he did not have a license to sell cars. He told ABC 7 that he had used the license of another dealer to gain access to vehicle auctions throughout the region. He was able to acquire cars for cash at the vehicle auctions and he parked the unregistered cars on the road while he was selling them in violation of the law.
The man ABC 7 spoke to insisted the cars that he was listing for sale were in good condition. However, when ABC pulled a Carfax report on one of them – a 2003 Toyota Matrix that was for sale – the vehicle was listed as a total loss.
Many of the cars that are listed for sale by illegal dealers are total losses, or otherwise have serious problems. Illegal dealers typically sell cars that reputable dealers would not consider selling, including vehicles with major damage and structural concerns.
When buyers purchase from illegal dealers, they often overpay and have few options – which is why it is so important for car buyers to research vehicles carefully before making any purchase. Of course, problems can arise even when purchasing brand new cars from reputable dealers. However, under those circumstances, there are typically legal protections in place such as California's lemon law. If you have purchased a new vehicle and experience problems, you should contact a Los Angeles lemon law lawyer to find out if you have options.