Odometer rollbacks defraud American car buyers out of more than $10 billion every year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety (NHTSA). By rolling back a used car’s odometer from, for example, 120,000 miles to 30,000 miles, the value of a used car is fraudulently inflated to thousands of dollars more. Victims of odometer fraud are robbed of at least $4,000 per vehicle from breaking down and subsequent repair work.
What is an odometer rollback? When a vehicle transfers owners, the previous owner must give the new owner a written odometer statement disclosing the vehicle’s true mileage at the time of transfer. An odometer rollback occurs where a dealer or private seller alters the mileage on the car’s odometer.
Here are three ways to check your car for odometer fraud.
- Check out the wear and tear on the vehicle. Does the wear and tear match the mileage?
- Have the vehicle inspected by a trusted mechanic.
- Using the VIN number, obtain the vehicle history report from trusted database services such as:
- CARFAX Odometer Check
- National Motor Vehicle Title Information System
Fighting Odometer Fraud
Victims of consumer fraud have several legal claims due to federal and state odometer statutes.
Under the Federal Odometer Act, odometer fraud is a felony. Further, a victim of odometer fraud may collect up to $10,000 or treble damages of 3 times the actual damages, whichever is greater, plus attorney fees and court costs.
Under New York Gen. Bus. Law § 392-e, a seller of a vehicle is prohibited from (1) providing a false odometer disclosure statement upon transfer of a vehicle; (2) misrepresenting true mileage driven to a transferee by disconnecting or changing an odometer or causing an odometer to be disconnected or changed, so as to reduce the mileage indicated; (3) removing an odometer repair notice.
If you are a victim of odometer fraud, the Kasell Law Firm may be able to help you obtain damages. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please email me at David@KasellLawFirm.com or call (718) 404-6668. I look forward to working with you!
This material may be viewed as attorney advertising and does not constitute legal advice. This information does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the author. This article strictly represents the personal views of the author on the date it was written and such views are subject to change without notice.