Buying a used car comes with its merits and demerits. On the one hand, you could get a great deal on a car that you would otherwise pay through the nose if you opted for a brand-new unit. On the other hand, you risk falling victim to auto dealership fraud.
One of the most common car dealership frauds is odometer fraud. Also known as “busting miles,” odometer fraud happens when someone (either the car owner or dealer) tampers with the odometer by disconnecting or resetting it.
Both state and federal laws prohibit odometer tampering
According to the Odometer Act, also known as the Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act, it is a crime for car dealers to interfere with odometers, sell odometer tampering devices or sell a vehicle knowing that its odometer is faulty. Additionally, this statute requires car dealers to disclose the odometer to potential buyers and indicate whether its reading is accurate or not.
So how do you detect odometer fraud?
While purchasing a used car, you can use online tools to determine the vehicle’s previous sale history. However, some odometer frauds may not be detected through these online tools. In that case, you can rely on the following signs to detect odometer fraud:
- Compare the odometer’s mileage records with the mileage shown in the vehicle’s maintenance and inspection records.
- Scrutinize the vehicle’s history report. From this, you will learn about odometer faults as well as whether any illegal tampering has happened.
- Look out for physical signs of odometer tampering. If the numbers are not clear or if there are gaps between the numbers, then there could be a possibility that someone rolled the odometer back.
Odometer fraud is a serious offense. Find out how you can protect your rights and interests if you are a victim of an odometer rollback or any other form of auto dealership fraud.