Odometer fraud is a more common problem than you might expect. There are some studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that indicate consumers lose somewhere between $4 billion and $10 billion each year as a result of schemes in violation of odometer laws in Conway, AR and beyond.
But what exactly is odometer fraud? You’ve probably seen the most popular example of this in pop culture, during the scene in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in which Ferris and company attempt to roll back the odometer in Cameron’s dad’s classic car to avoid getting busted for their joy riding. The movie depicts it as rather innocent, but in the world of used car sales, it’s a serious fraudulent activity that can result in some big-time fines and other consequences.
What laws govern odometers? Each state sets its own rules for what is considered to be odometer fraud and the kinds of consequences that can be levied for the behavior. In general, though, odometer fraud is considered the disconnecting, resetting or altering in any way of the odometer in a vehicle with the specific intent to change the number of miles it indicates. A person who purchases a vehicle from a seller is entitled to written disclosures of the mileage on the odometer. If the mileage is incorrect, the seller is required by law to make a statement to that effect on the title, and to provide information about the correct mileage.
When does odometer fraud occur?
There are a variety of situations in which odometer fraud can happen. The most common, by far, is when a seller tries to hoodwink a buyer into purchasing a car with more mileage on it than they realize for a higher price than they’d otherwise fetch. These scammers will not only roll back the odometer, but they’ll remove other signs of normal wear and tear with detailing and other maintenance tasks to prevent the buyer from getting suspicious that a vehicle with so little mileage could have so much wear and tear. While there are plenty of other ways odometer fraud can occur, this is definitely the most popular.
This is also why it’s so important that you take great care when purchasing a used vehicle, whether it’s from a dealer or directly from another seller. It’s not uncommon for people to commit odometer fraud and then list a vehicle on sites like eBay or Craigslist.
But sellers aren’t the only people who commit odometer fraud. Purchasers or vehicle owners might try to roll back the odometers to cheat on the warranty so they get longer-lasting protection, or to avoid issues with mileage penalties on car leases. All of these activities are punishable by fines.
If you have been the victim of odometer fraud, there are legal remedies available to you. You can file a civil suit for damages. Chances are, if you’ve been scammed, someone else has been scammed as well by the same person or dealer.
For more information about odometer laws and what you can do to spot odometer fraud in Conway, AR, contact Riverdale Automotive today.