The companies knowingly sold cars that were not roadworthy and misled consumers about warranty coverage.
HARRISBURG — Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced that his office has taken legal action against two used car companies for violating consumer protection laws: Carspot in Philadelphia and JK Motor Cars in Pittsburgh.
“In Pennsylvania, the demand for used cars remains high,” AG Shapiro said. “These dealers sought to cash in on that lawsuit and make a quick buck by cheating Pennsylvania workers. 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.”
The Office of the Attorney General previously filed an AVC against Carspot in 2016. The 2016 AVC sought to remedy alleged violations of the Automotive Regulations.
An investigation into Carspot was opened in August 2020 and Carspot was found to have a pattern of deceptive and unfair business practices. The lawsuit filed today alleges that Carspot made multiple misrepresentations regarding the cars it sold and that the problems were revealed almost immediately after consumers purchased them.
A consumer purchased a car from Carspot and within ten hours of purchasing the car, the check engine light came on. An hour after that, the car overheated. Two days after purchasing the car, when the consumer was returning it to Carspot, the car’s engine caught fire and the entire car burned to the ground. A passenger in the car was taken to hospital.
The lawsuit alleges that Carspot also misrepresented the existence and coverage of warranties sold with its cars. Many consumers only found out later, for example when something went wrong with their car, that they had a very limited warranty or no warranty at all.
In addition, Carspot failed to submit certificate of title applications for the cars it sold to the Department of Transportation within the twenty days required by law. Consumers paid Carspot to handle registration and title services, but some waited months to receive a 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 unroadworthy cars 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 warranty.” However, when problems were discovered with the cars they purchased, consumers were told that they actually 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 that the car’s rear subframe had “very bad holes.” rusty”.
Another consumer took the car he purchased from JK Motor Cars to a mechanic who found that “all metal lines” to items like the power steering, transmission, and oil lines were “so severely rusted” that they would not come apart and started to fall apart leak when moving.
When shopping for a used car, use these tips to lower your chances of being scammed and increase your chances of owning a reliable vehicle:
- Assess your needs: Consider how long you’ll use the vehicle, how long you’ll keep the vehicle, what size and features you’ll need, and also determine your budget for purchase, operating and maintenance costs.
- Know Your Seller: Whether buying from a used car dealer, private owner, or auto auction, check the seller’s reputation and trustworthiness first. 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 in good weather. Check the bodywork for rust or cracks. Inspect tires, battery, doors, windows, heating and air conditioning, lights, exhaust, and fluids to make sure they are working properly. Have a trusted mechanic thoroughly inspect the care before you buy it.
- Test drive the car before committing to purchase. If you’re not allowed to test drive the vehicle, don’t 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 must make a deposit, ask if it is refundable and make sure the deposit is included in the contract.
Consumers who believe they may have purchased a car that is unroadworthy should file a complaint with the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection by visiting the OAG’s website, emailing scams@ attorneygeneral.gov or by calling 1-800-441-2555.
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