Automotive issues were No. 1 on an annual report from the Consumer Federation of America that tracks complaints received by state and local consumer protection agencies. Among the most egregious complaints leveled against auto dealers:
- A Massachusetts man with a cognitive disability was sold two vehicles when he wanted just one. The dealership also misrepresented the man's income, inflating his Social Security pay by $4,000 a month.
- A Maryland woman tried to transfer the vehicle title of her recently deceased husband to her name. Rather than informing her the vehicle would have lawfully passed to her through the estate, the dealer bought her out of the remaining balance, then resold it to her with an extended loan term and a slightly lower interest rate. As a result, the woman became liable for almost $10,000 more for her vehicle.
- An elderly man in Arkansas was coerced into signing a financing contract for a new $50,000 vehicle and trading in his old car. He could not afford the new vehicle and did not understand the terms of the agreement upon signing it.
- A woman in Ohio financed a used vehicle and three finance and insurance products from a dealership. For more than two years, the customer was told to pay for repairs that should have been covered by the products. A consumer affairs office discovered that the dealer never notified the warranty companies that she had bought the coverage.
"These are not typical of all car transactions," said Susan Grant, the federation's director of consumer protection and privacy, "but these are the kinds of incidents that cause people to complain or get relatives to help them."