Companies knowingly sold cars that weren’t roadworthy and misled consumers about warranty coverage
HARRISBURG — Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced today that his office has filed a lawsuit against two used car makers for violating consumer protection law — Carspot in Philadelphia and JK Motor Cars in Pittsburgh.
“In Pennsylvania, demand for used cars remains high,” AG Shapiro said. “These dealers sought to cash in on this demand and make a quick buck by cheating hard-working Pennsylvanians. Consumers bought these cars only to have them break down, or in one notable case, catch fire, days after purchase. My office will not allow such blatant disregard for the law and the safety of Pennsylvania drivers to go unchallenged.
An American consumer who buys a used car today pays 42% more than they would have in 2019, according to Kelley Blue Book.
The Attorney General’s Office previously filed a CVA against Carspot in 2016. The 2016 CVA sought to remedy alleged automobile regulatory violations.
An investigation into Carspot was opened in August 2020 and found that Carspot had a pattern of deceptive and unfair marketing practices. The lawsuit filed today alleges that Carspot made various misrepresentations about the cars it sold and problems surfaced almost immediately after consumers purchased them.
A consumer purchased a car from Carspot and within ten hours of owning the car, the check engine light came on. An hour later, the car overheated. Within two days of purchasing the car, while the consumer was returning the car to Carspot, the car’s engine caught fire and the entire car burned. A passenger in the car was taken to hospital.
The lawsuit alleges that Carspot also misrepresented the existence and coverage of warranties sold with their cars. Many consumers only learned later, for example, when something was wrong with their car, that they had a very limited warranty or no warranty at all.
Additionally, Carspot failed to deliver certificate of title applications for sold cars to the Department of Transportation within the twenty days required by law. Consumers have paid Carspot to handle title and registration services, but some have waited months to receive title to their new vehicle.
The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office also filed a lawsuit today against JK Motor Cars and its managing member, Jason Kelly.
The lawsuit alleges that JK Motor Cars and Mr. Kelly marketed and sold cars in poor condition and failed to disclose, prior to the sale, serious problems with the cars they sold. The lawsuit also alleges that JK Motor Cars misrepresented the cars as being sold with a “dealer’s warranty.” However, when problems were discovered with the cars they purchased, consumers were told that they had in fact purchased the car “as is” with limited third-party coverage.
A consumer purchased a vehicle from JK Motor Cars and Mr. Kelly only to discover, upon inspection, that the car had a rear bumper beam that was “rotten and damaged” and the rear subframe of the car had “very rusty holes”.
Another consumer took the car he bought from JK Motor Cars to a mechanic who found that “every metal line” to items such as the power steering, transmission and oil lines was “so badly rusted that they wouldn’t come apart and would start leaking when moved.
When buying a used car, use these tips to reduce your chances of being scammed and increase the likelihood of owning a reliable vehicle:
- Assess your needs: think about how long the vehicle will be used, how long it will last, what size and features you will need, and also determine your budget for purchase, operating and maintenance costs .
- Know your seller: Whether you’re buying from a used car dealership, private owner, or auto auction, first check the reputation and reliability of the seller. Also, ask for all available repair and maintenance records and always check the title to make sure the person selling the car is the legal owner.
- Check the car: While you shouldn’t expect perfection, make sure the car doesn’t have any serious flaws and make safety a top priority. Inspect the car in daylight and good weather. Check the body for rust or cracks. Inspect tires, battery, doors, windows, heating and cooling, lights, exhaust and fluids to make sure they are working properly. Have a trusted mechanic carefully inspect the care before buying it.
- Road test the car before you commit to buying. If you are not authorized to test drive the vehicle, do not buy it.
- Read before you sign: Take the time to read and understand any written agreement. Be sure to ask questions. Understand if there is a warranty and what it covers. If you are required to make a deposit, ask if it is refundable and make sure the deposit is included in the contract.
Consumers who believe they have purchased a car that is not roadworthy should file a complaint with the Consumer Protection Bureau of the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office by visiting the OAG website, sending an e -email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1-800-441-2555. .
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