Having handled a number of odometer fraud cases, one sees the same excuses, over and over. The position of automobile dealers in odometer fraud cases is usually the following:

  • first, suggest that the odometer was not really rolled back, and there is simply an error,
  • secondly, if it did occur, explain that the dealer has been in business for over 20  years, and would never deliberately alter an odometer, in view of the penalties involved.   Instead, the dealer professes, we are as much a victim as you.       
  • thirdly, suggest that the consumer has received substantial use of the vehicle which should offset any claim.Dealers practice the 4 D's, delay, deny, distract, and deceive.  To respond to these tactics, it is generally useful to have an attorney experienced in lemon law and automobile fraud.  You should obtain the vehicle history from Carfax,  www.carfax.com, and a printout from your state motor vehicle agency.  We argue that the dealer's professed lack of knowledge of consumer fraud is irrelevant.  If the vehicle was sold with an altered odometer, the dealer is liable and if others are responsible, it is his responsibility to locate them.   Rollbacks are usually done by a third party, two or three levels removed from the dealer, though sometimes the dealer frequently knows something is wrong.

We wrote this a few years ago and we can add a few other tactics.  When selling a car, dealers can manage to write a purchase order, arrange financing, and prepare motor vehicle documents in a single day.  Yet when you contact them about an odometer claim, things go very slowly.  There is only one person who handles claims and he comes in but once every two weeks.   Months can go buy while dealers purport to plod through their evaluations.