Odometer Fraud

Rolling back odometers is another “classic” car dealer scam.  It has become more difficult in recent years due to advances in odometer technology, but it still occurs. Tampering with odometers is a violation of federal law, and likely constitute common law fraud under state laws.

California’s Car Buyer’s Bill of Rights Provisions Applicable to Odometer Fraud

In July, 2006, the California legislature in Sacramento enacted the Car Buyer’s Bill of Rights.  The Car Buyer’s Bill of Rights contains several consumer protection provisions relating to “certified” used vehicles and odometer fraud.  Specifically, California law now prohibits car dealers from advertising or selling vehicles as so-called “certified” used vehicles if the dealer knows that the odometer does not state the vehicle’s true mileage.  Violating this provision of the Car Buyer’s Bill of Rights can expose the dealer to liability for compensatory and punitive damages under California’s Consumers Legal Remedies Act (California Civil Code Section 1750 et seq.).

Odometer Fraud Has Become Easier to Detect

The good news is that there are now many more sources of information detailing vehicle histories, many of which include the odometer readings for various events.  So if an odometer has been rolled back it is often possible to go through the history and prove that a car or truck previously was serviced or registered with an odometer reading greater than its current reading.

Contact a California lemon law attorney if you suspect that someone rolled back the odometer on a vehicle that you purchased.


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