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Are You Buying a CPO Vehicle? Be Careful, Car Dealerships May Be Lying About the Accident History

On Behalf of | Feb 15, 2024 | Auto Law

CPO Accident History Fraud

CPO vehicles sold by franchise dealership (i.e BMW, Nissan, Toyota, Chevrolet, etc.) are allegedly inspected and reconditioned by a certified dealership technician. They often come with an extension on the manufacturer warranties, and they’re supposed to be in great condition. However, many dealerships lie about the accident history of a CPO vehicle in order to make a sale.This is a serious problem as it can lead to safety or performance issues for the buyer. A vehicle that has been in an accident may have hidden damage that could cause problems down the road. For example, the frame of the vehicle may be bent (known as frame damage, unibody damage, or structural damage), which could lead to problems with handling. Structural damage will affect the way collision energy is managed during an accident and maybe cause the airbags to deploy improperly.Sadly, many of the “factory trained,” “certified technicians” are not trained on paint and body damage. These technicians check off all the boxes as if they did the certification inspection but really never did some or all of the inspection. Many of the technicians admit they cannot tell if a vehicle has been in an accident.If you are considering buying a CPO (or any used vehicle), it important to check the accident history. Dealerships will often provide a Carfax report, AutoCheck report or National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) report. While these are helpful, they are not guaranteed to be accurate. You should look at the vehicle yourself and pay close attention to the gaps between panels. The gaps should be uniform. If you see a gap that starts narrow and then gets wider, or the gaps on one side of the vehicle are wider/narrower than the other side, that is an indication of prior damage and repairs.

What to do if You are the Victim of Dealer Fraud

If you find out a California dealer lied to you about the accident history of a new, used, or CPO vehicle, you can get help. California law allows you to file a lawsuit to force the dealership to refund your money, take back the vehicle, and may even get punitive damages. The consumer protection statutes have attorney fee provisions that make it extremely affordable for consumers to file a claim. In fact, most consumers pay nothing to start their case.If you find out that a dealership has lied about the accident history of a vehicle, you may have legal recourse. You may be able to sue the dealership for fraud or lemon law violations in California.


Buying a CPO vehicle can be a great way to get a reliable used vehicle. However, it’s important to be aware of the potential for dealerships to lie about the accident history of these vehicles. By doing your due diligence and checking for evidence of accident history, you can help protect yourself.If you think that you may have been the victim of fraud by a car dealership, you should contact an attorney who specializes in Auto Fraud cases. An attorney can help you to understand your legal options and file a lawsuit against the dealership.