Crime is everywhere and all around us. Not all crime is requires the use of stun guns or pepper spray to thwart a potential assault or robbery. Some crimes are perpetrated by white collar or blue collar people who take advantage of others when they least expect it.
Rolling back a vehicle’s odometer can raise the value of a car and increase the cost of car repairs. This is a crime involving moral turpitude.
Every car buyer should always check the odometer because a vehicle’s mileage is indicative of its value. In general, the higher the mileage the less you pay for the car. This makes tampering with the odometer a temptation for people looking to sell their cars. Rolling back the odometer allows the seller to pocket some extra money. Several crooked car dealers have been known to be engaging in odometer rollback schemes. They profit from your loss. The dealer earns extra money while you are stuck with a car that is not as good as you thought it was.
What Odometer Tampering Costs You
Falsifying the odometer can be very expensive for the buyer. First of all, the buyer will pay more than they should have for the car. Secondly, the maintenance will cost the buyer more than he anticipated. Older cars with high mileage will need frequent servicing. This is where the crime of odometer tampering will hit your checkbook. Car repairs can add up quickly. This is one reason that dealers roll back odometers. Some of the time, this is the only way they sell high mileage cars.
Odometer Tampering is a Crime
Currently, federal and state laws have legislation that forbid the tampering of odometers. Dealers and private sellers are required by law to provide the buyers with accurate odometer readings. For example, the car buyer has the right to know if the total number of miles on the odometer and must be told if the mileage reading is accurate. It is illegal to tamper with an odometer to make it appear that the car has been driven fewer miles than it actually has. It is also illegal to disable your odometer with the intent to deceive. Disabling an odometer to maintain a car’s value is illegal.
How to Avoid Odometer Rollback Fraud
Even if the seller has a good reputation, it is a good idea to do your homework by checking out the car’s history. You can do this by:
• Requesting a title search from your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.
• Asking sellers who sold the vehicle previously for copies of the vehicle’s odometer disclosure forms.
• Checking oil change stickers which are usually inside the door frame.
• Checking the inspection sticker for mileage at the car’s last inspection.
• Taking the car to a trusted mechanic for an opinion.
If you think you have been defrauded by an odometer rollback scheme, you may sue in federal court under the federal Motor Vehicle Information Cost Savings act or in state court.
Furthermore, many states have laws that make it a felony to rollback an odometer. Criminal cases can be prosecuted by the Attorney General and county prosecutors.
Check with your local city or county consumer agency, county prosecutor’s office of consumer affairs or state Attorney General’s office for specific laws in your state regarding this issue.
Running a Vehicle History Report
If there is a difference between what a vehicle’s odometer should read and what it actually shows, you will know it if you run a vehicle history report through CarFax.com or AutoCheck.com. With these services, all you have to do is input the car’s vehicle identification number (VIN). This can come in handy when someone selling you a car does not have any documentation on the car’s history.
Anybody buying a used car should seriously consider using CarFax.com or AutoCheck.com to avoid getting scammed.