CENTREVILLE, Va., Dec. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- New research from Carfax is the first substantial evidence in more than a decade that odometer fraud is a major problem for consumers. The data indicates more than 190,000 cars have their odometers rolled back every year, potentially costing victims in excess of $760 million in lost value and unexpected repairs. While an estimated one million rollbacks are lurking in every state, consumers in California, Nevada, Massachusetts, New York and Texas run the highest risk of buying one.
"Odometer fraud is a calamity for car buyers," said Larry Gamache, communications director at Carfax. "There are serious problems that can arise from a rollback. Older, deteriorating parts lead to unexpected repairs while unperformed maintenance for the true mileage may compromise the safety and performance of these cars. Not to mention, each victim loses thousands of dollars because they pay much more than these cars are really worth. This new data is a clear warning that consumers everywhere need to be on the lookout for odometer rollbacks and protect themselves when buying used cars."
Carfax finds that the majority of rollbacks have at least 50,000 miles taken off their odometer. In addition, 14-15 year-old cars are most susceptible to a rollback.
Professional con men likely are taking advantage of longer vehicle lifespans and readily-available devices to dupe unsuspecting consumers. An odometer correction tool is easily found online and can be used to illegally alter digital odometers. Many rolled-back cars are sold through online classifieds and private sales, but some criminals attempt to trade them in at dealerships as well.
Consumers worried about odometer fraud can check for free at www.carfax.com/odo. Carfax also offers these tips to help avoid buying a rolled-back car:
- Check that the car's wear and tear is consistent with the odometer reading.
- Ask the seller for service records and note the mileage on them.
- Buy from a recommended dealership or trusted seller.
- Be wary of 'too good to be true' deals or overly-aggressive sellers who want a quick sale.
- Get a Carfax Vehicle History Report from the seller or at www.carfax.com.
- Have a trusted mechanic thoroughly inspect the vehicle and check its computer.
Editor's note: Used car expert Chris Basso is available anytime for interview via satellite, phone, Skype or in-person. Contact him at 703-304-7727 to schedule.
About Carfax (www.carfax.com)
Carfax is the vehicle history expert for used car buyers, sellers and the automotive industry. Carfax created the Vehicle History Report in 1986 and maintains the largest vehicle history database ever assembled, comprising over 12 billion vehicle records from more than 77,000 sources across North America. A Carfax® Vehicle History Report™, the most trusted resource for vehicle history information, is an essential step in the used car buying process. Get free Carfax® Reports from dealers wherever used cars are sold online or look for Carfax Advantage™ dealers in your area and say 'Show Me the Carfax'. For used car buying tips or to purchase a Carfax® Report, visit www.carfax.com. Carfax was recently acquired by IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS).
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