Consumer Protection

Odometer Fraud

When a vehicle is sold, the seller must give the buyer a written odometer statement disclosing the following information: the vehicle’s true mileage at the time of transfer, the date of transfer, names and addresses for the buyer and seller, the vehicle’s make, year, body type and the vehicle identification number. If the seller knows that the mileage has exceeded a mechanical limit of 99,999 miles or knows that the mileage is inaccurate, he or she must provide that information to the buyer.

It is illegal to disconnect, reset or replace an odometer for the purpose of changing the number of miles on it. Both federal and State laws give protection to consumers who suspect that they have purchased a car with a “rolled-back” odometer.

It is illegal to tamper with an odometer. It is also illegal to sell, use or advertise any device for tampering with an odometer. Additionally, it is unlawful to operate a vehicle with a disconnected or non-functional odometer with the intent to defraud.

Vehicles more than 10 years old may have a title marked as “Odometer Exempt.” But even for vehicles qualifying for the Odometer Exempt designation, it is still illegal for the seller to tamper with the odometer or the disclosed mileage. Before buying a vehicle with an Odometer Exempt title, a buyer should consider checking the title history of the vehicle, as well taking the vehicle to a trusted mechanic to have it inspected. Some Internet companies sell vehicle history reports which may include information regarding potential odometer rollbacks. While these reports often contain useful information, they typically offer no guarantee that the information is totally complete and accurate. If you suspect you are a victim of odometer fraud, please file a consumer complaint with the Consumer Protection Division.

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