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Odometer rollback fraud on the rise: A warning for Florida used car buyers

More than 2 million vehicles on the road have an odometer that's been tampered with, according to new data from Carfax
Odometer rollback scam
Posted at 2:32 PM, Jun 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-24 12:46:26-04

VALRICO, Fla. — Valrico resident Bill Feskowetz became an odometer fraud statistic when he bought his 2013 Cadillac in 2021. The restaurant manager said the car overheated soon after he bought it.

Then the power steering and suspension went out.

But it wasn’t until he took the sedan to another dealer that he discovered the possible root of all the car’s issues. The dealer pulled a Carfax report showing the vehicle had more than 147,000 miles on it back in 2017.

The sales contract and the dealer's odometer disclosure statement showed 88,141 miles when Feskowetz purchased the car for $16,000 in 2021.

According to the Department of Transportation, Americans drive an average of 13,400 miles a year. Using that number, the Cadillac could have had 200,000 miles or more on it by the time Feskowetz drove off the lot.

“For me and my wife, this car has been a nightmare. It's been a nightmare. It really has," Feskowetz said.

Complaint and Response

Feskowetz filed a complaint with the DMV.

In an email, the state told ABC Action News it "did not cite the dealer since it appears the dealer purchased the vehicle from an individual and had multiple owners prior."

But consumer attorney Josh Feygin said federal law requires that a dealer know the true mileage of a vehicle before providing an odometer disclosure statement to the buyer.

“Any person that certifies the mileage is accurate in that chain of title is liable to the purchaser," he said.

An attorney for the Gainesville dealer that sold the vehicle said they did nothing wrong. He told ABC Action News that one of the companies servicing the car may not have reported an accurate odometer reading.

For now, Feskowetz is stuck with $4,000 in repair bills, a vehicle no dealer will buy and no recourse other than to hire a lawyer.

According to the latest numbers from Carfax, Florida ranks 4th in the nation when it comes to odometer tampering, with more than 85,000 of those vehicles on the road.

Never buy a car without pulling a history report and checking the VIN. Florida offers a free tool for that.

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