Odometer Fraud: Digital Odometer Tampering
- Posted by Hovanes Margarian, Attorney At Law
- Posted in Car scamsGeneral ArticlesHelpful tipsOdometer Fraud
Odometer fraud is a deceitful action which is punished by federal and state laws and which involves tampering a mechanical or a digital odometer to conceal a vehicle’s actual mileage.
It is natural that used car buyers tend to buy those used cars which have fewer miles on them. And accordingly, vehicles which have more miles “in their history” are sold in lower prices as compared to those which are not so much used.
Odometer rollback or odometer fraud is designed by dishonest people, especially auto dealers who try to make money by just cheating. As it was already mentioned above, there are two types of odometers; mechanical and digital. Once, mechanical odometers were being tampered very rapidly. According to NHTSA, in 2002 more than 450,000 cases of odometer rollbacks were reported. So, people started using a digital odometer instead. It was considered to be more difficult to tamper. However, the reverse happened, we can already say that in 2012 the number of digital odometer tampering increased as compared to the year 2002. And this occurred mainly because a digital odometer is easier to manipulate. When in the case of a mechanical odometer, people were tampering them manually, nowadays they use special equipment and software (specifically designed to fix problems and not for rolling back digital odometers) which is sold nearly everywhere and is extremely easy to use.
Note that odometer fraud i.e. mechanical or digital odometer tampering is punishable by law. The Federal Truth in Mileage Act (TIMA) requires sellers to provide truthful odometer readings and to disclose any known facts and inaccuracies. Failure to disclose such information may result in a seller’s paying high fines and/or imprisonment.
As you can see here, odometer fraud can be a threat for all of us. That’s why we should be extremely careful to detect and avoid it. Here are some helpful tips.
- To check whether the odometer is tampered or not, ask to see the car’s title and compare the mileage reflected there with the odometer numbers.
- Use CarFax to check the vehicle history report and to see whether the VIN was changed or not.
- Ask a skillful auto-mechanic to inspect the car closely.
- If the odometer is a mechanical one you can perform your own inspection. If it has tampered, then it will be easy to note that the numbers are not on an even line or that they are not rightly fixed in their places. The same cannot be said in the case of a digital odometer as it is more difficult and sometimes even impossible to detect any signs of tampering.
- Look at the wear and tear and at the tires as well. If the car’s odometer has not been rolled back, the tires must be original yet.
Be aware of all this and remember that we can assist you whenever you feel you have been a victim of odometer fraud. Just call 818.990.0418!