It is surprising to learn how common dealership odometer fraud is within the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), every year approximately 450,000 vehicles with altered odometers are sold within the United States. Odometer fraud is a serious crime that can cost consumers thousands of dollars in repairs and could even endanger the life of the driver of the vehicle has a serious defect. If you or a family member was a victim of odometer fraud, you should consult with an experienced Baltimore odometer fraud lawyer today.
At Whitney, LLP, our dealership fraud lawyers can help you discover whether you purchased a vehicle with a reset odometer. Our firm has years of experience handling a wide range of dealership fraud cases, and we will proudly use this experience to represent you. You should not be left with the burden of repairing a car that you believed was more valuable than it appeared. To schedule a free legal consultation, call Whitney, LLP at (410) 583-8000, or contact us online.
How to Recognize Odometer Fraud
If you are unsure of the signs to look for, it can be next to impossible to detect odometer fraud. However, there are certain actions you can perform to decrease the likelihood of purchasing a vehicle with a faulty odometer. The following is a list of how to protect yourself against odometer fraud.
Examining the Vehicle Title
If you are considering buying a vehicle from a dealership, you should ask to examine the car title even if the car is new. Next, you should compare the mileage on the title with the mileage on the odometer. If the mileage does not match or the mileage on the title is hard to read, you should avoid buying any vehicles from this dealer.
Ask for Maintenance Records
If you are purchasing a used vehicle, the dealership should possess a lengthy amount of maintenance records, like inspection reports. You should ask to see these reports and compare the mileage from these documents to the odometer. You should also inspect the windshield, doors, and hood for stickers detailing the dates for an oil change or maintenance. If the numbers on these stickers do not match the odometer, the dealer is likely committing fraud.
Physically Inspect the Odometer
Resetting or altering an odometer can cause it to become physically damaged. You should ensure that none of the numbers on the odometer appear crooked or have gaps between them. Additionally, if knocking on the dashboard causes the numbers on the odometer to move, this is a good sign that it may have been altered.
Examine the Tires
Tires are typically replaced at about the 20,000-mile mark. If the odometer on the car you may purchase has an odometer reading below 20,000, it would likely be outfitted with the original tires. If the tires have been changed, this may indicate an attempt to conceal a false odometer reading.
Inspect Vehicle Wear and Tear
There are several signs that may indicate a fraudulent odometer reading. For example, you can look at the gas and brake pedals to determine whether the wear and tear match with the vehicle mileage. Any unexplained dents on the body of the vehicle should also be considered.
Check the History Report
The dealership should have a vehicle history report indicating the odometer reading and other issues the vehicle may have. If the dealer does not have the report, it is a red flag. However, you can also use the car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) to search for a history report on the internet.
If you have completed this checklist and everything appears to be in order; you can likely proceed with the purchase of the vehicle. However, if an aspect of the deal feels suspicious, you should walk away and find a more reputable dealer. Additionally, if you believe that the dealer is committing odometer fraud, you should consider reporting them to the proper authorities. Odometer fraud is a serious crime that costs consumers millions of dollars every year.
Our Maryland Dealership Fraud Attorneys are Offering Free Consultations
If you or a family member was sold a vehicle with an illegally modified odometer, you should contact an experienced Maryland dealership fraud attorney. The diligent legal team at Whitney, LLP understands the stress associated with purchasing a defective vehicle, and we are here to help you pursue the compensation that you deserve. You should not have to bear the burden of repairing a vehicle due to the deception of a dealership. To schedule a free legal consultation to discuss your potential claim, call Whitney, LLP at (410) 583-8000, or contact us online.