Auto Dealer & Finance Fraud
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Automotive Dealer Fraud Lawyer

Even sophisticated car buyers who have negotiated deals with car salespeople for years can become the victim of automotive dealer fraud and auto finance fraud.


If you believe you were mislead, deceived, or otherwise defrauded in the purchase or lease of a new or used vehicle, please complete an online form and Caronna & Johnson, LLP, will provide you with a free consultation and case evaluation. We stand up for the rights of individuals who have been victimized by auto scams and help them receive financial compensation.

Our Partner overseeing automotive fraud is a skilled lawyer who brings a unique background to the practice of law. Before pursuing a legal career, he managed auto dealerships for over 15 years. He knows the laws a car dealer must comply with and how to determine if auto fraud has occurred. Through the application of our legal and industry knowledge, we get results.

From our offices in the Palm Springs area, we help clients throughout Southern California with all types of auto scams and auto finance fraud, including:

Payment Packing

In this common scam, the dealer fictitiously inflates your monthly payment so that the finance and insurance department can make money selling you optional accessories and insurance with little or no increased to the agreed upon monthly payment. The dealer utilizes methods to keep the consumer from knowing how much the monthly payment would have been without the optional items that were “packed” in the initial monthly payment quote. In many cases, optional items are misrepresented as being mandatory. This deception effectively destroys the consumer’s “option” to decline the extra items and thereby decrease the monthly payment and total cost of purchase.

Financing Fraud

You may be asked to sign two sets of loan documents, with different interest rates. Because of your credit score, you may have qualified for manufacturer’s incentive financing (subvented financing), but were charged a higher interest rate on your loan. You may also be told that you must purchase a service contract or other optional items in order to qualify for a certain interest rate. If you believe you are paying too much, please complete an online form today for a free initial consultation and case evaluation.

Hiding Negative Equity

If you owe more on your car than the car is worth, you are “upside down” on your loan, which is also known as having “negative equity”. The dealer can roll this amount into your new loan, but only by accurately disclosing the true “net trade-in” value and “prior credit or lease balance” on the “Itemization of the Amount Financed” section of your contract. If the numbers aren’t correct, please call us to discuss your options.

  • Prior Accident Damage/Salvage
  • Prior Rental/Government Vehicles
  • Prior Lemon Law Buyback Vehicles

If you have been defrauded in any type of vehicle deal, we can help. Please complete an online form today for a free initial consultation and case evaluation. We will explain your legal rights and options and put you on the road to financial recovery. We also assist car buyers who have warranty issues assert their rights under California’s lemon law.

From offices in Rancho Mirage in Southern California, the attorneys of Caronna & Johnson, LLP represent clients throughout the Inland Empire including the Coachella Valley cities of Coachella, Indio, La Quinta, Palm Desert, Cathedral City, Palm Springs, and Indian Wells; the Imperial Valley cities of El Centro, Brawley, and Calexico; High Desert communities including Yucca Valley, Morongo Valley, Joshua Tree, Palmdale, Lancaster, Victorville, and Apple Valley; San Bernardino County communities such as Redlands, Yucaipa, San Bernardino, Rialto, and Fontana; and Riverside County cities including Moreno Valley, Perris, Corona, Riverside, Banning, and Beaumont.