How American Credit Acceptance Legally Scammed Me

I recently purchased a vehicle from American Credit Acceptance. They sold the vehicle to me as-is at an auto auction, which is pretty standard for cars older than 5 years. At an auction, the use history of the vehicle is often unknown but it’s likely it’s off-lease or repossessed. The vehicle had a few things wrong with it in the condition report, but overall, ran and drove fine. There was no check engine light or anything. It had an issue with the hood, headrest and tailgate but it was all repairable.

After winning the auction and paying for the car, I drove it to my local shop for a state inspection. While driving, the check engine light came on. After further diagnosis, the mechanic found multiple error codes and it was explained to me that it was likely the seller cleared engine codes to misrepresent the vehicle.

This is the risk buying cars as-is, which is why it’s important to be selective of what kind of sellers you should buy a car from. When searching the name American Credit Acceptance on Google, the reviews are mixed and there were not many reviews for them as a seller.

What they did is allowed under the “as-is” clause, even though what they did was intentionally misleading. They knew the vehicle had problems so they hired a reconditioner to clear the engine codes so that they could fool the buyer into paying more for a car that they knew would not sell, had the buyer known the true condition. They intentionally deceive people out of their money.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What does “as-is” condition mean when buying a vehicle?

Buying a vehicle “as-is” means the buyer is purchasing the vehicle in its current state without any warranty against defects or future repairs. The seller is not responsible for any issues or damages once the sale is finalized.

2. What are common risks of buying vehicles at an auto auction?

Common risks include the potential of unknown use history, hidden defects, and issues like odometer tampering or undisclosed damages. Vehicles often come from off-lease or repossession situations and may not have been maintained properly.

3. How can I mitigate risks when buying a car “as-is” from an auction?

To reduce risks, thoroughly inspect the vehicle or hire a professional to assess its condition. Check the vehicle history report, read auction conditions carefully, and be wary of deals that seem too good to be true.

4. What should I do if the check engine light comes on soon after purchasing a car?

If the check engine light activates, visit a trusted mechanic for a diagnostic test to identify any issues. Understanding the error codes will help determine the next steps and the severity of any underlying problems.

5. Can a seller legally clear engine codes to sell a car?

While it is legal to sell a car “as-is,” clearing engine codes to hide significant mechanical issues may fall under deceptive practices depending on local consumer protection laws. It is advised to consult with a legal professional if you suspect fraudulent activity.

6. How can I check the reliability of a car seller like American Credit Acceptance?

Research the seller online through customer reviews, business accreditation websites, and forums. Evaluating mixed reviews and reported experiences can provide insight into the seller’s reputation and reliability.

7. What recourse do I have if I believe a seller intentionally misled me?

If you believe there was intentional deception, document all evidence and contact the seller for resolution. If unsatisfied, consider filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau or your local consumer protection agency. Legal action may also be an option based on the severity of the deception.

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