When shopping for a previously-owned vehicle, one of the first things a Pennsylvania consumer may consider is the mileage. The odometer reading can reveal a lot about a vehicle since a vehicle that has been driven many miles is more likely to have considerable mechanical issues. Paying a good price for a car with low miles may seem like a bargain, but sometimes it means the consumer is a victim of odometer fraud.
Low miles on the odometer often means the difference of thousands of dollars on the price tag since car dealers usually cannot charge too much for a car with high mileage. However, many consumers get caught in a scam when they buy a vehicle that shows low miles only to learn that someone rolled back the numbers on the odometer. This is fraud, and it is against the law, not to mention dangerous. A consumer may think he or she is getting a vehicle with low miles and few issues, but critical parts of the car may actually be worn from use.
Even new technology and digital odometers are not always safe from a fraudster who is hoping to get more money from a vehicle with tens of thousands of miles on it. Computerized devices sold on the black market allow car dealers to adjust the odometer reading with little effort. Some statistics show that nearly two million vehicles on the road have fraudulent odometer readings.
When shopping for a used vehicle, there are steps to take to ensure the odometer reading is accurate, including checking vehicle reports and having a vehicle inspected by an independent mechanic. Nevertheless, those in Pennsylvania who find out too late that they are victims of odometer fraud may wonder about their options. A determined consumer protection attorney can be an invaluable guide.