A dealer sold me a car with odometer rollback—help! Don’t panic; the dealer’s failure to disclose the true mileage of the car is a fraud. Thus, you could recover the price of the vehicle, or at least the diminution in value.
The car dealer had a responsibility to disclose the true odometer history prior to the sale. In this case, you have to speak with an experienced auto fraud attorney as soon as possible to review all of the paperwork concerning your transaction. You can sue the dealer.
Also, if you prove your case, you could potentially obtain more than the money you paid for the car. Note that the dealer has to pay your attorney.
Odometer Rollback Situation
Many people in the United States become victims of fraud when the mileage on a car’s odometer is tampered with. It happens a lot, with around 450,000 cases happening every year, according to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). This crime costs American car buyers more than $1 billion annually.
Most of the time, buyers who get tricked do not even know it, especially if the seller lies about it in the odometer disclosure form. You have the right to compensation for all the issues it caused you if a used car dealer defrauded you by rolling back the mileage on a car they sold you.
Dealer Sold Me a Car with Odometer Rollback
Businesses that commit odometer fraud can face criminal charges and be sued in court. For a criminal act that costs American car buyers more than $1 billion annually, expect the law to take this seriously.
The federal statutes used in odometer tampering prosecutions include the federal odometer statute, which considers changing a car’s mileage a felony. However, to prove the dealer’s guilt, you need to show they meant to trick others for money. This is why you need an attorney to help you build a strong case.
If a dealer sold you a car with odometer rolled back, do the following:
1. Gather Evidence
Obtain all documentation related to the purchase of the vehicle, including the bill of sale, title, and any other related paperwork.
If possible, get a record of the vehicle’s service history. This can sometimes show discrepancies in mileage. Take photos of the odometer reading.
2. Contact the Dealer
Before taking legal action, consider contacting the dealer and discussing the issue. They might offer a solution, such as a refund or a replacement vehicle. If the dealer is uncooperative, make sure to document the conversation.
3. Report the Fraud
Report the incident to your local law enforcement agency. Contact your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or equivalent agency. They might have a division dedicated to investigating odometer fraud. Report the fraud to the NHTSA – they have an Office of Odometer Fraud Investigation.
4. Seek Legal Advice
Consider consulting with an attorney who specializes in consumer protection or automotive fraud. An attorney can guide you on the best course of action and inform you of your rights.
The dealer should have given you an odometer disclosure statement. Review the statement to see what the dealer reported. If the dealer’s report on the mileage was false, you can bring a claim against them and seek your actual damages and treble damages for their violation (if it was intentional). You can also get your attorneys’ fees paid by the dealer.
5. Check for Recourse
Some states have laws that provide remedies for victims of odometer fraud, such as the ability to seek damages or void the sale.
Remember, the Federal Odometer Act makes it illegal for someone to sell you a motor vehicle and misrepresent the mileage.
Additionally, the laws against odometer fraud let you get compensation from dealerships and used car sellers who sell a tampered-with vehicle, even if they didn’t tamper with it themselves.
When it comes to hiring a lawyer and dealing with odometer fraud under federal laws, you can often get back your legal costs. These laws say you can get either $1,500 or three times the damages, whichever is more, along with the money you spent on your attorney. So, if you file a claim, you can usually make the person who did wrong pay for your lawyer’s fees.
Tips to Avoid Odometer Roll Back When Buying a Used Car
You can do a few important things to stop or reduce the chances of odometer fraud.
- When buying a car, ask the seller for the title. Look at the paper to check the mileage and compare it to the car’s current mileage.
- Check how the car looks: If it has a lot of wear and tear that doesn’t match the low mileage, it might be a sign of odometer tampering.
- Request the car’s inspection reports, including records of oil changes, to check its mileage history.
- Look at the tires. If your car’s odometer says 20,000 miles or less, it should still have its original tires.
- Ask the seller for a CARFAX Vehicle history report and see if there are any differences in the mileage records.
- Inspect the dashboard for any missing screws. If you see any, it could mean the seller messed with the odometer by opening the dashboard.
- Do the numbers on the odometer look crooked or not in line? If they appear altered, there might have been an odometer rollback on the car.
Remember, don’t panic, and stop thinking “the dealer sold me a car with odometer rollback”. The law in on your side, and you will get compensation for the dealer’s lies.
Rolling back an odometer to inflate the price of a vehicle without providing the genuine number is a federal offense. It is fraudulent, and you can potentially seek damages.
All in all, always try to verify the information with Carfax and inspect the car for signs of odometer tampering. Even digital odometers can be tampered with using specialized cables and laptops. If there was a rollback, the dealership would be legally required to notify you, which might have been subtly included in the paperwork. But since it was not reported accurately, they have a price to pay.