Can You Sue a Car Dealership for Overcharging

Some people out of ignorance have paid more than a car is worth at a car dealer, this is either because of the buyer’s ignorance or the dealer found a smart way to make extra money off the buyer. Whatever the case may be, it is possible to avoid being overcharged.

After you realize that you have been overcharged, can you sue a car dealership for overcharging?

Yes, you can sue a car dealership for overcharging if you have not signed the sales agreement. If you have signed the sales agreement, it is assumed that you agreed to all the terms of the sale and the final price.

What Does It Mean for Car Dealers to Overcharge?

Overcharging means the car was sold for a price higher than the advertised price or the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.

Car dealers can decide to increase the prices of cars either because they realize the person making the purchase does not have much knowledge of the car’s worth or because they simply can.

It is very easy for a car dealer to overcharge a used car than a new one, this is because used cars most times are not always with a price tag and there’s no way to confirm the price online before purchase.

Some ways a car dealer can overcharge is by asking you to pay for some dealer-installed options such as; fabric protection, paint sealer, etc., or by the increased interest rate in the case that the car is gotten on loan.

Most times, you won’t be aware of the dealer options until you see them on the sales invoice. If you carry out your assignment well, you will know that the majority of the added options are not compulsory and are just ways for car dealers to get extra money from you.

Can You Sue a Car Dealership for Overcharging?

Yes, a car dealership can be sued for overcharging, however, suing is usually possible for new cars, not pre-used cars under certain conditions.

Manufacturers are usually charged with the responsibility of attaching a sticker carrying the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) on the car, and under no condition should the car dealer remove this sticker.

By law, if any car dealer removes the MSRP sticker from the car and overcharges the customer, the customer has a right to file a suit.

Based on the Truth in Lending Act, a buyer can sue the car dealer if the quoted price is different from the price at the final sale.

Suing a car dealership will be possible if you have not signed the sales agreement, after you must have signed, it is assumed that you agreed to all the terms of sale and the final price.

It is only on rare occasions that you can take legal actions against the car dealer after signing, this is provided you can show sufficient evidence as proof. You can also sue a car dealership if they sold you a bad car.

However, to avoid being a victim of overcharging, do your homework about the car you want to get before going to the dealer’s shop, and be sure to read the contract to understand before appending your signature.

Also, be sure to look out for the manufacturer’s sticker on the car if you are buying a new car.

Whether you were overcharged for a new car or a used car by a dealership, the best thing to do is to seek legal advice from an attorney in your area or the area where you made the purchase concerning the possibility of suing the dealership and the chances of winning. Different laws work for different areas.

What Do You Do if You Get Ripped Off at a Car Dealership?

Realizing that you have been ripped off by a car dealer can be very saddening and leaves you to wonder if there’s anything you can do about it. The good news is, something can be done either to get your money back, return the car or cancel the contract.

1. Speak with the Manager

Having a talk with the manager at the car dealer will probably be your first course of action. A good manager will be invested in keeping the company’s image, therefore will be in the best position to help you.

When meeting with the manager you can go with a printout of the value you paid for the car and help the manager see the reasons you.

The manager after all may not be aware of the overcharge by the salesperson and can decide on whether to renegotiate the price or a return.

2. Get in Touch with the Manufacturing Company

Some manufacturing companies create avenues for consumers to relay their complaints directly to them. This is done to increase customer satisfaction. By doing this, the company may accept a return or take up the case on your behalf with the car dealer.

3. Contact the Attorney General’s Office

The office of the attorney general in your state may be able to help because they often have information on consumers’ rights and protection. You can contact the office by writing a request stating your situation or via a website.

4. Go Through the Consumer’s Law

You can go through the consumer’s law in your state to see if there is any law that covers ripping off by car dealers. It may be stipulated in the law the period within which the car should be returned or an opportunity for renegotiation.

5. File a Complaint

If none of the other options are coming forth with a solution you should consider lodging a complaint with an agency. You can do this by going through the Department of Motor Vehicles or Better Business Bureau.

How to Avoid Getting Ripped Off at a Car Dealership

Although it is quite common among some car dealers to rip off customers, it is also very possible to avoid being a victim. Here are some ways to avoid getting ripped off:

  • Do Your Assignment on the Car: When you are considering buying a car, you should always find out the necessary information about it including the price. Knowing the price beforehand will help you save some money when negotiating at the car dealer and also prevents you from being overcharged.
  • Don’t go Alone: It is not advisable to go to a dealership by yourself, always go with someone else. By doing this, you have a support system and it also helps if the person has knowledge of cars.
  • Don’t Accept Pre-printed Charges: Ensure that you go through the various charges on the sales invoice and ask questions about the ones you don’t fully understand. One way a car dealer rips a customer off is by adding unnecessary charges to the cost price.


The stress of finding a way to return a car, and terminate a car contract when you realize you have been overcharged can be avoided from the onset. When you do your due diligence before approaching a car dealership, you are able to see through their deceit.