Damaged car sold as new/unused

I know and that has me worried. Actually, first step is talk to my insurance agent in the morning and go from there. sigh

There’s only one thing worse than a crooked car dealer: A crooked dealer who won’t fix something so it will work right. If a dealer claimed the damage on his insurance, that status may show up in Carfax. A lawyer could have a field day with that kind of information. You may end up making someone a little richer. Even the A. G. might be able to win this one.

Confront the selling dealer and without accusing anyone ask for an explanation. Remember explain your side of no accidents (that you know of). This is step 1. From there see what transpires.

You may want to first get a written assessement of your vehicle from a qualified body shop or otherwise. Always work with the party before going the legal route. To go the legal route you will pay. Sadly on your vehicle it suffers serious depreciation and you have used it. So no winning route in my mind.

Best of luck. Don’t go crazy yet with lawyers etc until you see what response is.

This is FRAUD…Pure and simple. The dealer you bought the car from may be a victim of this fraud also.

I know of at least ONE dealer in NH and one in NY that was shut down for this same violation. Most AG’s take this very seriously. I’m amazed your AG isn’t taking this more seriously.

I would DEMAND a new car. I know the dealer you bought the car from may have been duped also, but they can also be found culpable.

If your tech saw that this car had been in an accident, the selling dealer’s tech saw it also. They knew when they sold you the car. They may have been duped by the original dealer but when they got the car they knew that and sold it anyway. Both are culpable in my view.

Marnet, if you have not already done so, get a carfax report on the car to see if it reveals the collision and/or an odometer roll-back. That would give you one more piece of evidence if it supports your claims.

Did the selling dealers Tech see the car BEFORE it was sold???

He may have noticed a problem when it was in there for service…but he has no way of knowing if the current owner had an accident or not. If I were the tech I’d assume the current owner got in a accident and had it fixed.

Before people make a rush to judgement on odometer fraud which is possible but unlikely, remember vehicles get damaged in transit quite a bit, Does the car have frame damage, Clamp marks? If the quarter panel has damage that doesn’t mean that was the reason it was chewing up tires, Some Chevys come from the factory with bad alignments in my experience. I am not saying the damage is not an issue, just that it may not be the reason the car has so many problems. When I worked at the dealer and we got a dealer trade, we always inspected it,
Just remember GM is in trouble for a reason, and its crap like this wreck or no wreck, that is the reason. Buy a Honda Or Toyota next time and you will be pleasantly suprised.
I worked at a Gm dealer for 3 years and got tired of seeing people buying Gm junk with thier hard earned money and getting upset over it. There was a customer with an S-10 type Olds Bravada, piece of junk when it was new, he got tired of it and I suggested he look at a Toyota, he bought a Rav-4 and loved it. He Come in and thanked me for the suggestion, Still happy as can be to this day.

You wrote…

“Problem: Remember that nice, NEW 2007 Chevy Impala I bought in November 2007? Well, it now has 14,500 miles on it after 2 years. Up until today, I had taken it back to the dealership for all service, which has consisted of multiple oil changes, rotating tires once, and two warranty issues with electronics.”

It seems strange that not once in the two years you were serviced by the dealership was any mention or notation made regarding the damege to this new car. Where is the cover-up? Your bill of sale states a new vehicle with 42 miles and you have records of the car serviced for two years at the dealership…go back to the dealership and present them with the facts and ask nicely for your money back…have a careful plan of what you will do if the answer is no…it seems to me to be a no-brainer …

  A new car every year for the rest of of your life enough money to live on in whateverway you choose and who ever was most responsible should have to take a class in integrity and ethics for the next ten years.The responsible party should also have to read the Bible every night (especially the parts about greed) on their own time and drive a wrecked car for the rest of their life.
                    Thanks Beatlejuce  !

I found the following New Motor Vehicle Damage Disclosure Act for Pennsylvania. Your state may have something similar, in which case disclosure might depend upon the value of the repairs.

New Vehicle Damage Disclosure Act

In Pennsylvania, the value of the damages would have needed to exceed something like $750 at retail before disclosure under this act would have been required.

Sorry about the delay with an update. I?ve been very busy dealing with the car and work.

The great news is that the car was NOT damaged after all. After I talked with my brother and cousin and slept on the issue I calmed down some. I borrowed a camera and asked the shop to put the car back up on the lift for me to document the alleged damage with photos. This time the head mechanic/shop manager had a good look and said he wasn?t so sure there was sign of repairs, despite appearances. So I took the car to an independent body shop for a definitive answer.

Turns out the white goo everywhere is actually a type of waterproof sealer that is applied at the factory to all places that underbody metal plates come together in a seam or are sandwiched together. It?s all done by robots and is applied quite generously, so all sorts of it end up smeared everywhere. The body shop showed me how that is consistent throughout the entire car?s structure and how all the original body bolt welds and paint are intact, etc.

And the fact that some of the metal work seemed rough and slightly bent is also true to factory stamping and assembly. We?re used to seeing the nice, tidy outer shell of the car and not its rougher, stouter underpinnings. Rather startling to find out, to say the least.

I was very relieved and also more than a bit irritated with myself that I had leapt to the assumption of guilt on part of the car dealer before having checked further and gotten a second opinion. Fortunately I hadn?t filed any complaints with the AG or BBB nor taken things any further at all, despite my initial anger. Boy am I glad I cooled off and proceeded more carefully before making official accusations.

However, the rear end was grossly out of alignment and apparently had been from the time of purchase. According to the body shop, they see this all the time. An average of two to three people come in each month with the same concern, sent by mechanics who do not do body work and think there may be hidden/undisclosed damage causing alignment problems. And, it seems that Impalas of the past couple years are particularly prone to being sent out the factory door with bad alignments. I had assumed that part of the dealer prep included checking the alignment. Alas, it seems few dealers ever do that. So, I still had to put on four new tires and get a four wheel alignment to the tune of big $$$. Sigh.

I haven?t decided yet what, if anything, I?ll go back to the dealership and say about all this. I did question the uneven and undue amount of tread wear on the tires, especially the ones on the back end, when I had the tires rotated last year shortly after Dad died. I specifically asked about the alignment. The dealership shop assured me all was fine and that the factory tires always show early wear. Yeah, well original equipment tires may be cheap and have relatively short life but not only 14,500 miles of use short!

Of course, I need take the car back to any Chevy dealer only for warranty work that might or might not arise in the future. So, I?m still discreetly checking on my options and will see what I do or don?t do in regards to being sold a car with bad alignment and niced off later about it all. Guess it?s all part of my life education.



Thank you for updating us, and congratulations on finding out that the car was not really damaged prior to delivery. The bad alignment is probably all too common on new cars, and I believe you are correct that few dealerships bother to check the alignment as part of the pre-delivery inspection.

Anyway, now that you have new tires and proper alignment, tire issues should not be a problem for a long time. Just remember to have them rotated, according the to GM’s schedule.

If you are now working, allow me to congratulate you on that. If you are still searching, try to keep your chin up. Better days are coming.

Have a great Christmas and New Year!

Good Old Body Shop!

Those guys come in handy. I’m curious. Did they charge you for checking out the car?
I’m happy the car wasn’t wrecked! Many people get wheel alignments when installing new tires. Your’s was just a little bit early. Those new tires will be safer in water or snow, however. I’m envious. I love Chevrolet Impalas. I wish you many miles of happy motoring.
Good Luck!

Great news before Xmas, huh? I was curious at the time as to whether this car had been damaged at all but given the comment about mangled metal and eating tires fast I was giving them the benefit of the doubt that the car actually was damaged.

Just an FYI Marnet. In regards to the Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI) checking the alignment is not part of the process and this is true of just about all car makes out there.
There may be a few high end cars in which this is done but it’s the exception, not the rule. When I worked for SAAB checking the alignment was part of the PDI but SAAB also paid the dealer/mechanic well for this PDI. It provided for 5 hours inspection time and was very thorough. Compare that to an 1.5 to 2 hours for VW, Honda, Nissan, Subaru, etc.

If alignment was checked on the PDI it would be a cost passed along to the buyer anyway so it’s pretty much a wash.

Thanks VDC for the support.

I do feel better knowing not only is the car undamaged but also that I have good tires and proper alignment going into winter weather. I’ll keep the tires rotated on proper schedule as I’d been doing and also make a point of having a complete four wheel alignment about once a year from now on.

As to work, still looking. I’ve had a few days of temp work at slave wages. But at least I’m in better shape than a lot of folks being laid off each day by the thousands. I just tighten the belt, keep working at finding work, and ride out the dwonturn as best I can like everyone else.


Thank you Common Sense.

Actually, the mechanic shop wouldn’t charge me for the time and effort of putting the car back up on the rack for me to take photos nor would the body shop accept payment for their time and efforts. When I went to the body shop I explained up front why I needed their examination and professional opinion, said I expected to pay for their time and expertise, and was willing to make an appointment for a mutually convenient time. The owner asked me to wait about 10 minutes and that he’d do it right away. Once he had it up on the lift he spent a good 10 to 15 minutes looking it over before he came and got me and then spent another good 15 to 20 minutes showing me everything under the car, explaining and giving me quite an education in a very professional and courteous manner. In all, he spent between 30 to 45 minutes of his time and still refused payment. I’ve taken several of the shop’s business cards and am passing them out to friends and acquaintances.


Thanks OK.

Well, it has all been an education. First, take nothing for granted. Ask and pursue answers when in doubt. Don’t leap to negative conclusions, hot temper aside. And lastly, there is always something more and new to be learned.

The body shop did recommend I have my mechanic do a complete 4 wheel alignment about once a year from now on. He said most folks only do a front end alignment when their car starts handling badly from hitting a pot hole or curb or such. Frankly, that has been true of how Dad always dealt with alignments and I have too in the past, not knowing better. The body shop gentleman said it is good preventive maintenance along with oil changes and other such proactive care that will save me money in the long run by extending the life of not only tires but the entire suspension system.

This is only the second car I’ve ever bought. My first car was a hand me down from my parents in 1975. The second car was my first new car I bought in 1987. This Impala bought two years ago was my second new car and only my third car. When I bought it I was already dealing with my Dad’s rapidly failing health and didn’t even think to wonder about alignment or such.

Just for the record, in the future when buying a new car, would I be best to stick with just taking it to my independent mechanic for a complete alignment right after purchase or negotiating having the dealership do it as part of the sales deal?

Again, thanks to you and all the others here on the board for all your feedback, advice, and education. (not to mention patience dealing with my many questions over the past few years!)

…still learning

I read your story with interest, as I too purchased a vehicle which had been obtained from a different dealership, and then experienced problems. Luckily for me they occurred the first day and the shop had the car for 32 days. I won a settlement for a new car through the BBB program, the new car is at the dealership waiting on a company which handles the paper work and title transfer to make the switch over, four months since I initially took ownership. While going through the process, I suggested to the Manager, and now I can to anyone reading this, that it might be a good idea to demand a car fax report on any car obtained in this manner. The dealership during the repair process obtained a work history, at my suggestion, on this car which had only a few miles on it also. This paperwork which showed a history of problems with the transmission shift lock was part of my submission in the BBB hearing, although my case was determined by the 32 days the car was in the shop, mainly due to a delay while waiting for parts from S. Korea. My story is listed earlier in the blogs, with a title similar to this one.

I feel your pain. We drove a new car off the show room floor and two times the door handle came off in my hand before we could get off the lot. We had lots of issues with this car and after two years decided to trade. When the new dealer looked at the car for estimated value he asked us “when did you wreck your car?” We told him it’s never been wrecked and he said the car had right front damage and the fender had been replaced because the paint thickness was substandard therefore our trade in value tanked!