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Undisclosed/Concealed Frame Damage

If a vehicle’s frame is bent, cracked, or damaged in any other way, its safety and value are significantly compromised. By law, a seller must disclose a written account of the vehicle’s damage history if the vehicle is certified pre-owned or if the damage history involves the vehicle’s frame or unibody, Consumers who have been sold a vehicle with undisclosed frame damage have a right to pursue legal action against their vehicle’s seller and may be entitled to a full refund, as well as damages, related expenses, legal fees, and more.

Although it’s not illegal for a dealer to sell a vehicle with frame damage, the seller is legally required to provide a written notice of the vehicle’s damage history is it involves frame damage, so that buyers and lessees can make an informed decision when considering a purchase.

Frame damage is not always easy to spot, as repairs may have been made to a vehicle’s exterior that may hide any underlying problems, but it is illegal for a seller to conceal frame damage from a potential customer and a written disclosure of the frame damage is required by law.

If you were sold or leased a vehicle that suffered frame damage, and it was not properly disclosed to you, then you may be entitled to a refund, plus damages. Operating a vehicle with frame damage seriously compromises your safety and when a seller conceals a vehicle’s damage it is a violation of the law. Call us at the Law Offices of Robert Mobasseri at (213) 282-2000 for a free consultation with one of our auto fraud lawyers. You can also submit a free online evaluation of your case, to be reviewed by a member of our firm who will contact you about your legal options.

Why is selling a vehicle with frame damage illegal?

While it’s not illegal for dealers to sell a vehicle that has suffered frame damage, it is illegal to sell that vehicle without providing a written notice of the damage. Frame damage can reduce a vehicle’s value by as much as 30 to 70 percent, and is a major safety hazard for drivers. Because frame damage can significantly reduce a vehicle’s price, dealers may attempt to hide a vehicle’s damage history. It can be difficult for consumers to recognize frame damage if the vehicle’s exterior has been repaired. However, frame damage may be an underlying problem that goes undetected for a long period of time before it presents itself through other defects. If a vehicle with frame damage is involved in an accident, not only does the vehicle provide less safety for the driver and passengers, but frame repairs can also cost thousands of dollars.

Consumer protection laws require sellers to disclose frame damage to potential buyers because of the serious safety and value issues involved in acquiring a vehicle with such considerable damage. Consumers shopping for a certified pre-owned vehicle or considering a previously frame-damaged vehicle have a right to a damage history, so that an informed purchase can be made.

How to tell if a vehicle has frame damage

It’s especially difficult for consumers to determine if a car has suffered frame damage, because often times the vehicle’s exterior doesn’t show signs of having been in a major collision. Sellers of these frame-damaged vehicles have the vehicle’s exterior fixed and repainted and the underlying frame problems can be nearly impossible to spot.

A new paint job may be a nice way for a dealer to spruce up a vehicle that’s for sale, but it can also be an indicator that the vehicle has been in a recent accident and required some bodywork and a repaint. It may not be a surefire indicator of frame damage, but it might give you a clue as to whether your potential vehicle was in a previous accident.

Another way to spot frame damage is to test-drive the vehicle and see if the steering wheel pulls to one side, however, there are many frame-damaged vehicles whose steering doesn’t pull and may still have major underlying damage. Similarly, a vehicle with frame damage might exhibit “dog-tracking,” which means that its rear wheels are not parallel with its front wheels. This is best observed from behind the vehicle while it’s driving forward. These methods might give you a hint as to whether your vehicle’s frame is bent, cracked, or damaged in some way, but even if your vehicle passes both these small tests, it’s possible that the frame is still compromised.

The best way to determine if a vehicle you leased or purchased has frame damage is to take it to a trusted mechanic. Many auto repair shops have special equipment to ensure that a vehicle’s frame is undamaged and can provide you with the most conclusive test results for your vehicle’s frame.

What happens if your vehicle has frame damage?

If you were sold a vehicle with frame damage and it was concealed or not properly disclosed to you, then you have a right to take legal action. Consumer protection laws guarantee that each consumer has a right to legal action if a seller fails to disclose a vehicle’s frame damage. Frame damage is a serious compromise of safety and value and consumers who were sold a frame-damaged vehicle without prior disclosure are entitled to a refund, damages, and other incidental expenses.

At the Law Offices of Robert Mobasseri, we have a 99% success rate representing consumers in auto fraud, lemon law, dealer fraud, and consumer protection. The auto fraud attorneys at our firm provide leading representation for any consumer in need. In addition, our attorneys generally operate on a contingency basis so that your legal fees are paid by the losing party, making your choice for representation financially practical.

If you bought or leased a vehicle with frame damage that was not disclosed to you, then you have a right to take legal action and may be entitled to a vehicle refund, replacement, and other damages. Call us at the Offices of Robert Mobasseri at (213) 282-2000, where a professional can review the details of your situation and offer you a free consultation regarding your case. You can also fill out a FREE online evaluation form through our site and a member of our team will contact you personally about your legal options.


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Lemon Law Auto Fraud serves the following California counties: Inyo, Imperial, Kern, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare, and Ventura.

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Disclaimer: The following Lemon Law and Auto Fraud information has been compiled from various public sources. It is presented online for informational use only, and without warranty as to its accuracy, timeliness, or completeness. This site does not replace any official versions of the information presented, nor does use of this information constitute an attorney-client relationship. It is always recommended that you do not make any decisions about any legal matter without first consulting an attorney to ensure that all of your rights are protected, as well as to find out if your vehicle meets the established Lemon Law or Auto Fraud Criteria for your state.