Car dealerships are very tricky, and many of them finagle situations with the hopes of getting away with it because they have an army of lawyers on retainer.
Some car dealerships would go to any length to make as much profit as they can from their customers, including forgery like selling a car to a customer only for the customer to find out later that the documents and names have been forged.
There are many situations where the customer finds out that the car he or she has paid for belongs to someone else, and then the car is taken from the customer and returned to the owner. In this situation, it is only natural to sue the car dealership, but how much can you sue a car dealership for forgery?
Ideally, you can only sue a car dealership or any fraudulent person that has committed forgery to the tune of the amount equivalent to what you lost, both material, mental, or reputational damages. However, you can get up to two to three times higher than the actual cost of the car.
What is Forgery?
Let’s take an example. Mr. Dean found a house on sale, and Little Thomas appears, saying that he owns the house and that he is the one that has put it up for sale. Somehow, his number was the one on the signpost, truly.
Mr. Dean pays a huge amount of money for the house to Little Thomas, who in turn submits all the documents of the house, changing it all into Mr. Dean’s name. Then Mr. Dean and his family move into the house.
Three months later, Gabriel Peter and his family arrived at the doorstep of the house, and surprisingly, they tried on their keys, only to discover it didn’t work.
What was more surprising was that someone else opened the door to their own home from inside the house. After a lot of back and forth, Gabriel Peter produced the real documents of the house, and turns out, that what Mr. Dean had was a fake. A forged document.
Little Thomas committed forgery to defraud Mr. Dean. Forgery is falsifying a legal document or altering a binding instrument for the sole aim and intent of defrauding another person.
Car dealers have been found guilty of forgery from time to time. They create false car documents for cars they don’t have the right to sell, sell them to an unsuspecting buyer, and get money from the buyer, only for the owner to come back later to get his car back with the original documents of the car.
The only reason why any document is forged is for fraudulent purposes, and suing for forgery is tantamount to suing for fraud, especially if the forgery was successful, and the victim parted with money unjustly.
In What Areas can Car Dealerships Do Forgery
Forgery is mostly done on car documents in several areas. This is why buyers need to be extra careful, alert, and conscious of the whole process of the purchase from the beginning to the end.
One area in which car dealerships can do forgery is by completely forging documents for a car that they are not permitted to sell in the first place.
They create fictitious documents, forge the owner’s signature and get the customer to sign it, only for problems to occur in the future and the customer finds out what had taken place.
Another way car dealerships do forgery is by altering the price agreed with them by the buyer in the document and then forging the customer’s signature, to get an extra amount from the bank, in a pay-on-installment contract.
For example, the customer could have agreed to $30,000 as payment for the car and signed the necessary car documents, agreeing to pay $2,500 over the next twelve months for the vehicle, only for the bill to come in the following month, and the customer notices that the bank has deducted $200 extra.
Contacting the bank, the customer discovers that the car dealer had brought in a bill worth $32,400, with the customer’s signature on it for a $2,700 monthly payment instead of $2,500.
Another area where car dealerships can forge a customer’s signature is when they have been trying to get the customer to sign some remaining documents to no avail, so they do it themselves, with the very best intents.
The truth is, no matter the intent, forgeries are always illegal.
Can You Sue a Car Dealership for Forgery?
Yes, you can sue a car dealership for forgery, especially if the forgery has, in some way, caused damages. What you are suing for, in the real sense of it, is the damage that the car dealership has caused as a result of the forgery.
If you have been hurt in any way due to the forgery of the car dealership, perhaps you lost money, or reputation, you can go ahead to sue the car dealership, so long as you have a prove of forgery and fraud. You should also know what to do if a car dealership sold you a bad car.
How Much Can You Sue a Car Dealership for Forgery?
You can sue to the tune of the amount of money you have lost or the equivalent of it that you lost as a result of the forgery. And sometimes, you can get two or three times more, depending on the gravity of the forgery.
This means, that if you lost, say, $10,000 in cash as a result of the forgery, you are only liable to sue for $10,000 plus the amount of money you have spent on the proceeding.
Also, if you can prove it, you can sue more for reputation loss, business loss, and as well as time spent as a result of the forgery. This is why, sometimes, you can sue for as much as two, three, or even four times more than the material cost of the forgery.
However, you can only sue a car dealership for forgery if you can prove the damages that have been done to you as a result of the forgery done by the car dealer.
Not only that, you have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the forgery took place. This will take a lot of preparation, and gathering a lot of evidence.
What Lawyers Can You Use to Sue Car Dealership for Forgery?
When you decide to sue a car dealership for forgery, the type of lawyers in the best position to help you through this process is auto fraud lawyers.
Auto fraud lawyers don’t just sue for forgery, but for every kind of fraudulent activity, that car dealerships have done to cause you damage.
Things You Should Know Before Suing Car Dealerships for Forgery
There are certain things you should be aware of before you sue a car dealership for forgery:
- Get Legal and Correct Details of Car Dealership: You must find out what the legal name, address, and registration number of the car dealership is, to be sure you are suing the right person.
- Get Proof of Forgery: Before you sue, you must get proof of the forgery, to be able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the car dealership has committed forgery.
- Get Proof of Damages Caused by Forgery: If you want to come out victorious, you have to prove to the court that you suffered huge damages because of the forgery. Get evidence that will take you beyond a reasonable doubt.
- Proof that Misrepresented Facts Caused You to Make the Final Purchase Decision: Where it applies, you must also be able to prove that, had you known all the facts, and had the car dealer not lied to you, you would not have purchased the car.
- Serve the Car Dealership the Lawsuit from the Court: Ensure that this is done to avoid the car dealership’s absence from court on the day of appearance.
If you can help it, try not to be defrauded. Always be alert when dealing with car dealerships, as they can be very tricky and dubious. They will do just about anything for profit.
If you have fallen into some kind of forgery, you reserve the right to sue but know that you cannot sue for a billion dollars just because you want to. Even, in some states, there is a ceiling to how much you can sue for.