Odometer Discrepancy, Rollback or Tampering
Odometer Rollback and Diminished Value
The NHTSA reports that, every year, thousands of car buyers fall victims to Odometer tampering or the illegal practice of rolling back a vehicle’s odometer (mileage) to make it appear that the vehicle has a lower mileage than it actually does costing consumers millions of dollars in losses.
This has historically been considered a significant problem for the American consumer. While any vehicle sold on the used car market could have been the object of odometer tampering, the problem has been considered to be most prevalent among late model vehicles which have accumulated high mileage in a relatively short period of time. Vehicles in fleets, such as lease fleets, rental fleets, or business company fleets typically fall into this category. When sold on the used car market, vehicles whose odometers have been rolled back, or “spun,” can obtain artificially high prices, since a vehicle’s odometer reading is a key indicator of the condition, and hence the value, of the vehicle.
Regardless if it’s an analog or a digital odometer cluster, scammers can alter the reading to show a lower mileage. Obviously the gain in rolling back the odometer is to sell the vehicle for more than it’s actually worth.
One of the first signs of odometer rollback was the mechanical condition of the vehicle, second was paperwork found in the car showing a much higher mileage on earlier dates.
In a recent appraisal we performed, the loss in value a vehicle suffered due to the unscrupulous behavior of a used car dealer was $1,500.
Even-though vehicle history reports are not the most accurate sources for car accidents, when it comes to odometer rollback they are quite useful; after ordering an autocheck history report we find that this vehicle’s mileage was reduced by 64,419 miles (35%).
A quick appraisal of this vehicle revealed that this rollback artificially inflated the vehicle’s value by $1,500.
First thing you need to do when you suspect odometer tampering is to call the dealer and demand a refund. If you wish to still keep the vehicle, you can order an appraisal report from Diminished Value of Georgia and send that to the dealer or individual that sold you the vehicle with a demand letter requesting reimbursement of the difference in value.
Dealers should comply with this demand as failure to do so might force you to seek legal action against them and/or reporting them to the NTHSA for punishment under 49 USC Chapter 327.
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