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Dealership Transactions & Disputes

Auto dealerships may question if they need a lawyer on retainer. However, having a pre-existing relationship with a lawyer can benefit many businesses and dealerships, specifically when dealing with significant financial transactions and potential customer disputes.

Types of Disputes

This list is not exhaustive; however, we’ll touch on some of the more common types of disputes between buyers and their auto dealerships.

Odometer Rollbacks

As a dealership, it is illegal for your employees to roll back the miles on any vehicle. However, this doesn’t mean you may not one day be accused of tampering with the miles on a vehicle. Odometer fraud is both a federal and state crime. If you’re finding your dealership is accused of rollbacks, having a lawyer on your side can help in the courtroom.

Price Inflation

Sales and pricing of your inventory are primarily at your dealership’s discretion. However, ensuring you’re advertising and providing the correct information and price for each vehicle is important. In addition, federal law requires each dealership to include an MSRP sticker on new vehicles, and no one is to remove that sticker except for the buyer.

By law, there is nothing that requires your dealership to sell used cars at any specific price, and those vehicles do not require an MSRP sticker. However, bait and switch sales are federally regulated. So you need to ensure any price you advertise for a used vehicle is honored at your dealership.

Salvaged Vehicles

It is required for dealerships to disclose if a vehicle has been salvaged. A salvaged vehicle means that an insurance company has written off that vehicle as irreparable or defective. If that has happened, it must be disclosed to the new buyer in writing, and any attempt to hide that information could lead to a dispute. If you find yourself being charged with deception or fraud, our lawyers are here to help you through the legal process.


While pricing and sales of used vehicles are typically up to your dealership’s discretion, it is illegal to increase the price of a used vehicle to offer a higher trade-in value to a buyer. This is a common bait and switch tactic that you may think is OK if it’s written in your sale contract. However, the FTC has strict laws enforcing customer rights and avoiding buyers from being tricked or scammed.

If you have questions about your dealership and wish to ensure you’re following both federal and state regulations, please contact us now. Our offices are open, and we’re looking forward to hearing from you.