Hollywood may have people believe that rolling back an odometer is a good way to prevent others from knowing that the car was out for a joyride. However, rolling back or otherwise tampering with an odometer is considered a crime. It can also have an economic impact on consumers of up to $10 billion per year. To help prevent such fraud from occurring, California law requires a Vehicle/Vessel Transfer Form be filled out.
This document requires that the correct mileage be stated on a vehicle's title when it is sold. However, the law exempts cars from this requirement if it is more than 10 years old. Odometer fraud may occur in a variety of different ways. In addition to rolling back the odometer, such fraud may occur when it is reset or disconnected. It is also possible that an odometer is rolled back in conjunction with the car being detailed.
This makes the car look like it has sustained normal wear for the mileage stated on the odometer. Any type of odometer fraud can be committed either by an auto dealer or by those who are selling their cars privately. In some cases, fraud is committed to extend the length of a warranty or make sure that there are no penalties paid for excess mileage on a lease.
Car dealers or other sellers that have engaged in misrepresentation as it relates to the mileage or condition of a car may be guilty of fraud. Victims may be entitled to compensation if they buy vehicles that have been tampered with. It may be worthwhile for someone to talk to an attorney that may be able to help him or her with his or her case. Cases may be resolved by talking to a dealer or a private party seller outside of court.