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Thread: Odometer Fraud?

  1. #1
    Supmom810 is offline Member
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    Odometer Fraud?

    What is the name of your state?What is the name of your state?FL
    Last week I drove my 16 yr old son to a dealership he found online to buy a car. The dealership is approx. 2 hrs away.
    The car that he was interested in was there and due to his age, he could not test drive the car, but the owner took him for a ride. After lifting the hood and checking out the brakes, oil and all that stuff, my son decided this is the car he wanted (he has a job and has been saving for the down payment and will be making the payments) and I put the car in my name. My son was to follow me since we were in a much larger city than what he was used to driving in. Once we got on the turnpike, he called me and said his speedometer didn't work. I told him to stay behind me and we would stop at the next rest area. Sure enough speedometer didn't work, odometer read the same mileage that the disclosure statement said when we left the dealer.
    I immediately called the dealer and he told us it should work they just replaced the speedometer sensor module and that it may have disconnected. He said to have my son check the connection and pin.
    Anyhow, my son or husband can not get it to work. We have called the dealer where we bought the car and he says he does not know what to tell us, take it to a Honda dealer and see if they can fix it.
    Now my question. Shouldn't we have been told about the new module and why it was replaced? I pulled a car fax report and supposabley this car has only been driven 90 miles in 5 months, but has been registered in WPB, then Orlando. Something doesn't sound right.
    Would appreciate any advise on what our next step should be.
    Thanks
  2. #2
    seniorjudge is offline Senior Member
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    You can get the car fixed and then go on from there.

    If you think you have been damaged, sue in small claims.
    There are two rules for success:

    (1) Never tell everything you know.
  3. #3
    Supmom810 is offline Member
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    We have an appt to take it on Tuesday. I guess my only damage would be, we probably paid too much for the car.
    Is it my responsibility to report to the DMV that the miles are unknown?
  4. #4
    cjbrown929 is offline Member
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    odometer problem

    As I have stated before, these are generally pretty straightforward situations.

    The seller (which in your case is the dealer) has to sign the title and note the miles on the car at the time of sale. The fact that the miles have not changed since you bought the car make it abundantly clear that the odo is malfunctioning. Now, did the dealer know it was malfunctioning?

    When the vehicle was obtained by the dealer, the PREVIOUS seller had to note the miles when they signed off on the title. Ask to see what the miles were when they took the car in. If there was no change, they must've known.

    Moreover, they sold you a car that must now forever be sold as "tmu" or "miles unknown". The contract will have a place where the seller can either note the true actual miles OR that the miles are unknown.

    If they placed an actual figure for the miles on the contract and the title, EVEN IF THEY DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT THE PROBLEM, they HAVE to redo the contract and place "unknown miles" on it. It's the LAW.

    A car with unknown miles (even if it's off by only a fraction of a mile) can be worth 50% of the same car with known miles.

    The good news for you is that you now have the option of resigning a corrected contract, or giving the car back and getting all of your money back. If you resign, naturally you would want to negotiate a substantial reduction in price. Again, it doesn't matter if the odo was only off by 1/100th of a mile. "Miles unknown" means just that. It also DOES NOT MATTER whether the dealer knew about it, since the contract has to be rewritten, giving YOU the option to sign or not. Don't let them bs you otherwise.

    Please follow my basic advice. Senior judge vastly understates the seriousness of the dealers actions AND your options. It would be illegal for the dealer not to have you resign the contract (IF you wanted to keep the car), giving you ENORMOUS leverage.
    Last edited by cjbrown929; 11-13-2005 at 12:58 AM.
  5. #5
    dallas702 is offline Senior Member
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    You can get the actual miles from the computer system. Either the Body Control Module or the Powertain Control Module (can't remember which) registers and stores the actual miles driven...just in case someone disables the odometer. Any certified dealer can retrieve the info, and can actually change it one time for a odometer change/repair. Take it to a DIFFERENT dealer to have it checked. This has been in use on most cars since approx. 1990.
  6. #6
    cjbrown929 is offline Member
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    Dallas: I checked a few sites, and couldn't find any that would allow someone to retrieve the supposedly "true" miles from, say, a powertrain module and thereafter claim the miles as accurate. Part of the problem is resetting a new or repaired odometer to the supposedly correct reading. In this situation, often a new odometer is installed with a zero reading accompanied by a sticker on the left door frame stating the odometer reading when it was replaced. Guess what? If the odo had to be repaired/replaced, the reading on it is likely wrong, so the sticker is just a guess. Basically, there is no legal way to represent a car that has any discrepancy in terms of its odometer other than "miles unknown".

    As you might guess, given the potential incredible loss in value, odometers are probably one of the most reliable parts of any car.

    I would remind the op that the contract IS invalid due to incorrect information the dealer placed on it. It is up to you whether or not to resign.

    At the Toyota dealership I worked at, such cars were routinely wholesaled (the beginning of a journey that would likely end at a used car lot in tijuana).

    Sometimes, unscrupulous types will transfer the title in a paperwork sleight of hand and wind up with a "clean" title, ie no longer tmu.

    Good luck
    Last edited by cjbrown929; 11-13-2005 at 05:15 AM. Reason: update
  7. #7
    dallas702 is offline Senior Member
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    CJ;

    I was made aware of computer storage of actual drivetrain mileage when I took my '91 ZR-1 in to the dealer for some maintenance a few years ago. One of the problems I wass observing was that the mileage I was driving was slightly higher than what I knew to be a true distance. The dealer plugged his analyzer into my system and read the actual mileage stored in the body control module (BCM). The BCM receives its signal from the speed sensor through the ECM (main computer module). If the speed sensor is tampered with, or computer registers it and stores the info.

    In OP's case, I'd definitely have it checked by another dealer, but it is possible that it may be a legitimate failure of the sensor. BUT...it could also be an illegal attempt to stop the odo from showing the true miles. The fact that the dealership says they didn't know about it not working properly after (now admitting to) replacing it is suspect.
  8. #8
    Supmom810 is offline Member
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    I called and spoke to the dealer. I again told him that we could not get the odometer sensor repaired with the instructions he gave us. He told us to buy a new sensor, it would be around $90 and to have someone replace it again. I asked how this effect the title and odometer disclosure and he said that it would not effect it at all.
    Everything he states is inconsistant. He told us that he had a new paint job put on the car about 2 months ago when we were looking at it, but then I asked him how long he had the car and he told me about a month.
    If he is unwilling to write the contract and wants the car back, what are my options? My son really likes this car and doesn't want to give it back, but now he is concerned about the engine and how many miles it actually has. We searched for quit awhile for the car he wanted and he gave all of his savings of $3,200 towards this car and still has 15 months of payments.
  9. #9
    cjbrown929 is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Supmom810
    I called and spoke to the dealer. I again told him that we could not get the odometer sensor repaired with the instructions he gave us. He told us to buy a new sensor, it would be around $90 and to have someone replace it again. I asked how this effect the title and odometer disclosure and he said that it would not effect it at all.
    Everything he states is inconsistant. He told us that he had a new paint job put on the car about 2 months ago when we were looking at it, but then I asked him how long he had the car and he told me about a month.
    If he is unwilling to write the contract and wants the car back, what are my options? My son really likes this car and doesn't want to give it back, but now he is concerned about the engine and how many miles it actually has. We searched for quit awhile for the car he wanted and he gave all of his savings of $3,200 towards this car and still has 15 months of payments.
    Supmom: I will try and make this short and simple.

    1) Because the dealer put the incorrect miles on your contract, it is INVALID.

    2) Because the contract is invalid, you have the CHOICE whether to sign a new one.

    3) Because the car has "unknown miles" it is worth far less, depending on various things, maybe 1/2.

    4) I am sure that the dealer would rewrite the contract if all he had to do was change the miles, but it you went along with it, it'd be like flushing $ down the toilet.

    5) Of course, it's up to you and your son, but unless the dealer is willing to give you a new price based on the cars "unknown miles", you'd be making what's known as a "bad deal".

    Don't let them intimidate you, and try not to let your son's desire for the car cloud your judgement. You say the engine is already having problems? This could be just the beginning! Oh, and YOU don't pay to get the odo/speedo fixed! They will take as much advantage of you as you let them.

    Let me know, if you'd like , the make model year and miles showing on the car, and I will do some checking. Oh, and a rough idea of the price.
  10. #10
    BelizeBreeze is offline Senior Member
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    And of course this is INCORRECT.

    First thing monday take the car as advised, to a local certified dealer and have the odometer checked. They will know how to do this with the Computer.

    Also, contact the DMV in your state and do a title search on the vehicle to determine if the odometer readings were somehow altered.

    This is NOT YET odometer fraud. And any suggestion that it is is irresponsible at the least.
  11. #11
    BelizeBreeze is offline Senior Member
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    Furthermore:

    the ONLY requirement under FLorida law is:

    Disconnecting or turning back an odometer, and even owning a vehicle with a disconnected or nonfunctional odometer, are against the law.

    Its also against the law to sell a vehicle without providing a written statement that discloses the actual mileage at the time of transfer. All certificates of title in Florida are supposed to show the odometer reading at the time vehicles are sold.

    You can also do an online vehicle check at the following site:
    [url]http://www.hsmv.state.fl.us/hsmvindex.html[/url]
  12. #12
    cjbrown929 is offline Member
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    Belize: you need to start taking your medication. Your last post generally recapitulates issues that have already been addressed. As for the one before that...

    Odometer fraud can occur several ways. One factor all of them share is intent. Obviously, if a dealer rolled back the odometer, I think even belize could understand the problem. However, it would also be fraud if the dealer knew that the odometer reading was incorrect due to a malfunction and did not note this fact on appropriate documents including the contract, the title if available (if not, on a power of attorney form). The motive would be the significant loss of value. A vehicle with "unknown miles" is a CLOSE equivalent to a LEMON.

    Contrary to belize's rantings, I never said that this was an open and shut case of fraud, only that it stank to high heaven. Yes, as I stated previously, there is a possibility that the dealer did not intend to put incorrect information on these documents BUT IT DOESN'T MEAN HE DOESN'T HAVE TO REDO THE CONTRACT, meaning my advice is 100% correct. The dealer has already acknowledged that the odometer is not functioning, so ignoring belizes advice to have it checked would be the smart thing to do.

    I have been involved in over 4,000 car deals in my life, many that had issues with the odometer reading. Belize is probably still riding a bicycle (with unknown miles) and obviously doesn't read posts thoroughly before doing his imitation of a bull in a china shop.
    Last edited by cjbrown929; 11-13-2005 at 11:48 PM.
  13. #13
    cjbrown929 is offline Member
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    belize- I'd add that if you refuse to read (and understand) posts in their entirety, you are wasting a lot of people's time by responding.

    Reread all my posts on this thread and show me where I stated unequivocally that the dealer was acting fraudulently. For that matter, show me any particular advice I gave that is "INCORRECT", AND WHY. Just blathering about things is not usually considered a well-reasoned argument.

    To help you focus, you'll need to 1) read and understand posts before you criticize them and 2) be specific in your rebukes. Any yokel can say "you're WRONG" without explaining why, and you are an excellent example of doing so.

    I make mistakes, but I only learn when someone makes sense in their response.
    Last edited by cjbrown929; 11-14-2005 at 01:59 AM.
  14. #14
    BelizeBreeze is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjbrown929
    Belize: you need to start taking your medication. Your last post generally recapitulates issues that have already been addressed. As for the one before that...
    Do you REALLY want to start this?
    Odometer fraud can occur several ways. One factor all of them share is intent. Obviously, if a dealer rolled back the odometer, I think even belize could understand the problem.
    IF and Maybe don't cut it. Here is what you said EXACTLY!.
    Quote Originally Posted by cjbrown929
    1) Because the dealer put the incorrect miles on your contract, it is INVALID.
    WRONG! The requirement under florida law is that the dealer record the Odometer as it stands at the time of the sale.
    However, it would also be fraud if the dealer knew that the odometer reading was incorrect due to a malfunction and did not note this fact on appropriate documents including the contract, the title if available (if not, on a power of attorney form). The motive would be the significant loss of value. A vehicle with "unknown miles" is a CLOSE equivalent to a LEMON.
    And where do you get 'MOTIVE' from the facts of the post. First, you have no idea UNTIL the car is checked over by a certified mechanic, that what the dealership said happened. Second, if you want to say things like this then you'd better have more proof than your 'feeling'.
    Contrary to belize's rantings, I never said that this was an open and shut case of fraud,
    Really?
    Quote Originally Posted by cjbrown929
    Sometimes, unscrupulous types will transfer the title in a paperwork sleight of hand and wind up with a "clean" title, ie no longer tmu.
    Your 'intimation' is just as damaging. You nor the poster have proof that anything other than what the dealership said happened, happened UNTIL SUCH TIME as the car is checked by a certified mechanic who can verify that the odometer is either new as told to the poster or that it has been tampered with.

    Until such time it is irresponsible to intimate that 1. this is any type of fraud and, 2, that the contract is invalid.

    Or, have you read the contract yourself?

    only that it stank to high heaven.
    As do your responses to this thread.
    Yes, as I stated previously, there is a possibility that the dealer did not intend to put incorrect information on these documents BUT IT DOESN'T MEAN HE DOESN'T HAVE TO REDO THE CONTRACT,
    That's EXACTLY what it means. If the mileage as the car stood when it was sold is correct, then the contract is valid PERIOD!
    meaning my advice is 100% correct.
    You haven't been 100% correct since coming here.
    Or, again, please type this poster's contract to the forum so we can verify your claims.
    The dealer has already acknowledged that the odometer is not functioning, so ignoring belizes advice to have it checked would be the smart thing to do.
    Learn to read. The poster said EXACTLY "I immediately called the dealer and he told us it should work they just replaced the speedometer sensor module and that it may have disconnected. " Where do you get "NOT WORKING" from that?

    Your assumptions are running rampant.
    I have been involved in over 4,000 car deals in my life, many that had issues with the odometer reading. Belize is probably still riding a bicycle (with unknown miles) and obviously doesn't read posts thoroughly before doing his imitation of a bull in a china shop.
    But even from my bicycle I'm not stupid enough to make a claim on a contract I have never read or make claims that I know something that is impossible to know without a full review of the facts, something you are far too quick to do.

    Now, I'll wait until you type this poster's entire contract here so that you can prove under the rules of the FLORIDA rules of evidence that the contract is invalid.

    Should be interesting.
  15. #15
    Supmom810 is offline Member
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    This is the way the deal went:
    Drove to Orlando to look at the car my son saw on a website.
    Dealer said car was "loaded" and in excellent shape with no mechanical problems.
    Dealer said they just put a new paint job on car approx. 2 months ago.
    Dealer took my son for a test drive. Never said anything about the odometer and my son said he did not notice it while on the test drive. During the test drive it was making a clicking noise while turning and the stereo was not working. Once they got back to the lot, son asked about the clicking. Dealer asked his mechanic to look at it. They told us that it needs new springs, looked as though the previous owner lowered the car.
    My son has a pair of springs from his old Honda that his father bought for him as a "fix it upper" that didn't get fixed.
    Mechanic said the speakers were taken out of the car by the previos owner. That was ok too, my son was going to change them out anyhow.
    Signed a contract
    The car is a 1995 Honda Civic EX, 5 spd. and the selling price was $5,495.
    Odometer Disclosure Statement was included in the contract and states that the odometer nows reads 159617 and that to the best of their knowledge it reflects the actual miles on the car. Nothing was checked about exceeding the mechanical limits or that they are miles unknown.
    Then we signed the bill of sale that showed the car was sold "As Is" and the seller makes no warranties.
    Certification of Pollution Control Devices or Systems was also part of the contract.
    We signed everything, gave him the down payment and left.
    We went half a block to get gas and there was no gas cap, turned around, they gave us a gas cap.
    Once we got on the turnpike, son called and said his Speedometer was not working. We pulled off at the first rest stop, I called the dealer from my cell phone, he told us that the speedometer sensor module was just replaced and that it may have become diconnected and when we got home to remove the screws, and see if the pin was pushed in. The pin was in and we reconnected it, still does not work. I asked my son what the miles read and he told me 159617.
    I again called the dealer the next day. He said try and stretch the pin and if that didnt work to get someone else to look at it, we might have to buy a new one for around $90 and have someone to fix it. I asked him how long he had the car and he said for about a month. When I asked why he replaced the module, he just said they needed to. I then asked how that would effect the title and odometer disclosure and he said it would not effect it at all.
    I did not mean for this to turn "ugly" on here. I just wasn't sure how this should have been reported, if we should have been told about this at the time of the deal and if this was considered odometer fraud.
    Thank you for everyone's advise. I will let you know what the service guy says tomorrow.
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