Are Auto Dealers Overcharging for Cars?

Was I overcharged for my car? Cars and trucks are expensive. Second, only to a home, a vehicle is the most expensive purchase a typical consumer will ever make. Unfortunately, it is sometimes difficult to determine exactly what was paid for a car if an unscrupulous dealer muddies the water with a deceptive trade-in valuation. Let’s assume that you have your heart set on a new Acme 3000 roadster, but you still owe $7,000.00 on the car you are presently driving. The dealer might lead you to believe that they will give you $7,000.00 in trade-in credit for the old car and that the loan will be paid off. All you have to think about is the price of the new roadster. But if the actual value of the trade-in is less than what is owed (you are upside-down on the loan) a less than honest dealer might increase the price of the new car to make up the difference. The buyer has a new car but also has a higher price, higher payments, and higher tax and registration fees than they should have. In Texas, if a car dealer is found to have acted deceptively in the pricing of a new car and the valuation of a trade-in it may be liable under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and may be financially liable to the consumer who was cheated. There are also Texas laws administered by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles that make it improper for a dealer to advertise a vehicle at a price that it will not sell it for. In such a case, the Department of Motor Vehicles can take action against the dealers, which may end in civil penalties.

The Law Office of Julie Johnson is dedicated to the protection of consumer rights. If you have been victimized through questionable dealer practices please feel free to contact us at

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