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Hello FW community,

I live in IL. I bought a used car(99 Camry) two days ago for $3000. I paid $2000 in cash and wrote a personal check for $1000. Seller told me that car has 89500 miles and title is clean. After I drove the car home, I checked car fax (I know I am stupid to not check this before buying) and found that car has rebuilt title and odometer reading was 175000 in 2011. Apparently, odometer is rolled back. I looked at the title before giving the money and it did not show rebuild word anywhere. But IL dmv has vin check service and it showed rebuild title for this car. I guess title color may be different for clean, rebuilt, etc. I asked the seller to take the car back and he promised to take it back, but he started giving all kinds of excuses like his wife spent that money, etc. I asked my bank to stop the check payment. Seller lives in same city as mine and 2 miles away from my home (I think he does not know my address).

I am planning to report odometer fraud to the appropriate agency. I am worrying about stopping the check payment. Can the seller sue me for that? I read that writing a invalid check is criminal offense. I can just pay him $1000 and consider this as a valuable lesson. I am looking for FW input here.

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Junk yard or to someone who want to learn driving and who does not want to pay the instructor. I am impressed with how s... (more)

fogler (Nov. 20, 2013 @ 8:06a) |

This is dead-on correct. I hear of dealers doing this all of the time buying over 10 year old stuff, 00 jeeps, 00 accord... (more)

gdrum (Nov. 20, 2013 @ 8:12a) |

I knew without reading.  Deductive reasoning, it's required on the interweb.

dcg9381 (Nov. 20, 2013 @ 11:31a) |

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"Due diligence"

fogler said:   and he promised to take it back, but he started giving all kinds of excuses like his wife spent that money, etc
If you happen to live in a small town, show up at his house with the police.

Take this as a life lesson and be happy it was only a $3K car. Next time, get a CarFax, etc.

You can try filing a police report and see if any officer is interest in paying seller a visit asking questions about car fraud. Seller may be more willing to backtrack to "misunderstanding has occurred" and "I will take the car back". Police report will also support your case if seller sues you for the personal check money. Overall, 99 Camry with 189K miles that looks decent for $2K may be not such a bad deal.

Responding to the police comments -

What is that going to do? There are no warranties or guarantees on private sales. The OP is just as much as fault for not checking into this.

Rolling back an odometer is a criminal offense. Thats why the police could be involved.

[

In my state, secretary of state police investigates odometer fraud. I am planning to report to them tomorrow. I live in small town. Local police may show some interest, but I am not sure. I bought three used cars before and I always check car fax before buying. I was over confident this time and did not suspect seller as this transaction took place at his condo. I read that rolling back digital odometer is quite difficult and expensive.

I would:

1) Notify the police immediately.

2) Put a stop payment on the check immediately until this is resolved to your satisfaction.

fogler said:   In my state, secretary of state police investigates odometer fraud. I am planning to report to them tomorrow. I live in small town. Local police may show some interest, but I am not sure. I bought three used cars before and I always check car fax before buying. I was over confident this time and did not suspect seller as this transaction took place at his condo. I read that rolling back digital odometer is quite difficult and expensive.

Can't you just swap guages?

Definitely stop payment on the check. Let the seller know what you discovered, that you're stopping payment on the check and that you're returning the car. Confirm everything in writing (bought the car, discovered Car Fax, contacted seller on specific dates, etc.), save a copy for yourself and mail the seller a letter (USPS certified mail).

Yes, the seller can sue you. But you can also sue the seller, as it sounds like you have a pretty legit defense.

Good luck.

Odometer fraud is a criminal offense

You stopping your check was fine. You did do only after discovering the problem . That is not the same as handing a bad check you never intended to honor or your bank never had the funds to pay . You did have the funds to pay and intended to pay for a clean title car with 90k miles. You were justified in stopping payment once you learned the item wasn't as represented

You can get your money back. Exactly same thing happened to me in 2000. I called police and they told me to pound sand. They wanted me to call a lawyer who wanted 180 an hours just to listen. I learned the lesson and moved on. Now I have a story to tell. In my case it was also a salvaged title. You can at least put a stop payment.

fogler said:   I am worrying about stopping the check payment.

Rush to your bank in the morning and stop payment. With that said, I wouldn't care much about the miles or title history on a 14 year old car. I'd care about it's condition. Save the Carfax cost and put it towards a pre purchase inspection. $1,000 back for the mileage error is reasonable.

Sorry op but when you have a car that is over 10 years old and has a rebuilt title, Odometer readings are no longer "valid". The guy technically could have replaced the gauge cluster and not actually rolled back the odometer. $3000 isn't THAT expensive for a car of that vintage, the most important thing you should be focused on is whether or not the car passes smog, runs well and handles well. If the car does all of those things and doesn't burn oil, I wouldn't bang your head against the wall too much over this. I'd rather have a high mileage salvage car that runs perfectly than a dead car with low miles, clean title.

SUCKISSTAPLES said:   Odometer fraud is a criminal offense

You stopping your check was fine. You did do only after discovering the problem . That is not the same as handing a bad check you never intended to honor or your bank never had the funds to pay . You did have the funds to pay and intended to pay for a clean title car with 90k miles. You were justified in stopping payment once you learned the item wasn't as represented

Cars are sold as is and odometer readings don't matter once you reach 10 years of age.

@fogler
What made you spend $$$ and check the Carfax after the fact?

KYBOSH said:   @fogler
What made you spend $$$ and check the Carfax after the fact?
he was too excited/giddy... needed the car, who knows... Biggest thing OP needs to get checked out is if this car is going to be a major oil burner and to see if the car can be properly aligned or not. Some shops have sales for 4 wheel alignments for like $80 like wheel works. Corollas tend to be oil buners so be on the look out for that.

goku2 said:   Sorry op but when you have a car that is over 10 years old and has a rebuilt title, Odometer readings are no longer "valid". The guy technically could have replaced the gauge cluster and not actually rolled back the odometer. $3000 isn't THAT expensive for a car of that vintage, the most important thing you should be focused on is whether or not the car passes smog, runs well and handles well. If the car does all of those things and doesn't burn oil, I wouldn't bang your head against the wall too much over this. I'd rather have a high mileage salvage car that runs perfectly than a dead car with low miles, clean title.

This car has digital odometer. I think a chip needs to be replaced along with some other parts. I understand that this car is very old and rebuilt title does not matter, but the seller has falsified the information. He had owned it for 10 years. So he knows everything about it. Car seems to have some problems from what I see using obd reader. I bought this car only because of stated low miles.

KYBOSH said:   @fogler
What made you spend $$$ and check the Carfax after the fact?


Hum.... I got free AutoCheck report (from eBay) using the technique I learned from FW

fogler said:   KYBOSH said:   @fogler
What made you spend $$$ and check the Carfax after the fact?


Hum.... I got free AutoCheck report (from eBay) using the technique I learned from FW


Sorry for the jack move but was that before the geniusvin website died?
If anyone knows how to get a free one know please let me know (post or PM).

Thanks!

Ice0920 said:   fogler said:   In my state, secretary of state police investigates odometer fraud. I am planning to report to them tomorrow. I live in small town. Local police may show some interest, but I am not sure. I bought three used cars before and I always check car fax before buying. I was over confident this time and did not suspect seller as this transaction took place at his condo. I read that rolling back digital odometer is quite difficult and expensive.

Can't you just swap guages?


you are correct. SUPER Easy .. 30 minutes tops

>> Sorry op but when you have a car that is over 10 years old and has a rebuilt title, Odometer readings are no longer "valid"

That's a load of crap in Texas. On the back of the title there's three fields:

1) The shown mileage is accurate to my knowledge.
2) Parts have been replaced (Speedo) and the actual mileage is xxx,xxx
3) I do not know

This is paraphrasing, but I would think these questions/protections are in place to protect buyers. Does your state have such an ruling?

goku2 said:   Sorry op but when you have a car that is over 10 years old and has a rebuilt title, Odometer readings are no longer "valid". The guy technically could have replaced the gauge cluster and not actually rolled back the odometer. $3000 isn't THAT expensive for a car of that vintage, the most important thing you should be focused on is whether or not the car passes smog, runs well and handles well. If the car does all of those things and doesn't burn oil, I wouldn't bang your head against the wall too much over this. I'd rather have a high mileage salvage car that runs perfectly than a dead car with low miles, clean title.

SUCKISSTAPLES said:   Odometer fraud is a criminal offense

You stopping your check was fine. You did do only after discovering the problem . That is not the same as handing a bad check you never intended to honor or your bank never had the funds to pay . You did have the funds to pay and intended to pay for a clean title car with 90k miles. You were justified in stopping payment once you learned the item wasn't as represented

Cars are sold as is and odometer readings don't matter once you reach 10 years of age.


Agreed. There is no fraud if you cant read that you signed on the back of a 'rebuilt' title. Agree on nothing being done on 10 years of age as most states consider them exempt anyways.

fogler said:   goku2 said:   Sorry op but when you have a car that is over 10 years old and has a rebuilt title, Odometer readings are no longer "valid". The guy technically could have replaced the gauge cluster and not actually rolled back the odometer. $3000 isn't THAT expensive for a car of that vintage, the most important thing you should be focused on is whether or not the car passes smog, runs well and handles well. If the car does all of those things and doesn't burn oil, I wouldn't bang your head against the wall too much over this. I'd rather have a high mileage salvage car that runs perfectly than a dead car with low miles, clean title.

This car has digital odometer. I think a chip needs to be replaced along with some other parts. I understand that this car is very old and rebuilt title does not matter, but the seller has falsified the information. He had owned it for 10 years. So he knows everything about it. Car seems to have some problems from what I see using obd reader. I bought this car only because of stated low miles.

In that case, the guy likely replaced the gauge cluster...(unlikely he'd own the equipment to do this sort of programming) I'm most certain that if the vehicle is over 10 years old, odometer readings/fraud/laws etc. don't apply which is why the DMV doesn't require the reporting of the odometer for vehicles over 10 years old as things break and people swap clusters etc. Those odometer fraud laws are to protect people who buy 2 year old vehicles with 100K miles and they roll back the odometer to say 20K miles or something... Of course you bought the vehicle cause it was low miles but the fact that you couldn't pick up that it had a rebuilt title and you didn't look online for the car fax is really your fault. You should seriously just accept your mistake and worry about far more pertinent things such as is this car going to last me for more than a year rather than worrying about a stupid title on an econobox.

OP - You answered one of my concerns when you said he owned it for 10 years, my first question would have been was it intentional deception or did he buy it like that and not know... Since you looked at the report and found that all of the crooked stuff happened while he owned it, the seller is obviously a dirtbag. My opinion is to try to resolve with him directly first.. Even if you don't get all the money back, but he agrees not to make a big deal about the stop payment. You'll have 2k in the car. Please keep in mind, that 2k for a car (at least in SC) is the equivalent of the $500 car from 15 years ago..... DIRT CHEAP!!

I had more thoughts.. but i'm short on time, but one main point i'd like to add, even though the 10 year rule is federal, if it were here in sc, since it's over 10 years old, what the odometer reads and what the paper work says doesn't mean didly squat to any agency or law enforcement. they basically won't care if you complain or want to file a report about the odometer "fraud"

I will add that if you feel that 2k-3k is too much to spend on a running car with ac, and you wanted to go to small claims, it looks like every thing would be in your favor if the bogus stuff happened while the seller owned it. I feel your pain, the info you discovered makes you feel victimized.

Who's willing to bet that the seller won't go through the hassle to try and reclaim that extra $1000?

I'd say you got a '99 Camry for $2000, good work man. Has the timing belt been replaced? That'll be the first thing to go, then transmission.

This thread is ripe for a parody thread:
Help FW community, I just sold my '99 Camry for $3000. The buyer paid $2000 in cash and wrote a $1000 check. Here's the problem, he put a stop to the check. I may have misrepresented the mileage by a few thousand miles, give or take... Now I'm worried that if I turn this into a civil matter this fact will surface and I'll be held liable for some law. Wut shud I dooo??

Followed by the typical Dudley Do-Right responses:
You mean you sold a car and lied about the mileage? What'd you do? Replace out the gauge cluster?? You know that's highly illegal? I hope you go to jail for lying about such things. You're an awful person. I'd say that losing $1000 on this transaction is what you deserve and a lot less than doing 18months to 3 years in federal prison!

I skimmed through the USDOJ article "THE FEDERAL ODOMETER TAMPERING STATUTES"
www.justice.gov/civil/cpb/cases/cases/Younis/OdometerStatutes.ht...

I didn't see anything about 10 years statute on a car's age - seriously, did you guys make this stuff up?

If the dumbass calls you back, quote this line read 32709 from here:
http://uscode.house.gov/download/pls/49c327.txt

Then tell him he got off easy for selling it to you for $2000. It doesn't matter if the whole process wasn't done right, you think he's going to investigate the law? A lawyer would cost him more than the $1000 he's losing.

That is, if you want to keep the car for $2000...

Was it from a dealer or a private party?

isn't your address on the check you gave him?

So what exactly is the procedure for cars that are rebuilt and the odometer replaced?
Do you just note that the ODO might not be accurate?

KYBOSH said:   So what exactly is the procedure for cars that are rebuilt and the odometer replaced?
Do you just note that the ODO might not be accurate?


Depends on the state, but on MD titles it's:
A. Actual Mileage
B. Exceeds Mechanical Limits
C. Not Actual Mileage

This would be C.

odometer fraud is indeed a crime, but can u prove it? He can claim he told you the true mileage. I guess if the title he signed over to you has false info, he could be prosecuted.

fogler said:   KYBOSH said:   @fogler
What made you spend $$$ and check the Carfax after the fact?


Hum.... I got free AutoCheck report (from eBay) using the technique I learned from FW

Are you saying autoc heck failed to report the rebuilt title and odometer discrepancy, but carfax showed it?

If you had actually paid for an auto check report there would likely be coverage for this , since these facts were reported to public sources that carfax found but AutoCheck didnt

KYBOSH said:   So what exactly is the procedure for cars that are rebuilt and the odometer replaced?
Do you just note that the ODO might not be accurate?


My NC Odometer disclosure (required with every title change) and my FL title (Odometer disclosure on back of title) both have a spot for the odometer equipment failure/replacement and estimate of what the miles actually or (or unknown if that is the case). But if such a disclosure was included separately or on the title from the seller and he marked that, then Op has no real chance of getting any traction on it. If it was marked in working order or not included, then perhaps a case could be made.

I'd follow some of the advice others have suggested and contacting law enforcement. Even if they won't pursue a case, they might be able to pay a friendly visit to the seller and ask some questions, which may scare the seller into taking the car back and refunding the $2k (as someone else alluded to). Whether or not any further action is taken, I seriously doubt the seller will try to come after him for the other $1k when the Op has the "evidence" against the seller.

Who takes a personal check when selling a car? red flag?

jerosen said:   Rolling back an odometer is a criminal offense. Thats why the police could be involved.


but how can OP prove that the odometer is rolled back???
just cuz the odometer does not match the carfax doesn't mean it's rolled back.
previous owner could have replaced a broken cluster with another one.... (just one possible defense)

Besides just the cluster , there is a sworn odometer
Statement on most titles

Also op said the seller represented the car had under 90k miles.

How does the state record miles? just by the registration or does the inspection station record this? I know here in Maine that it is just written down at the DMV or town office. PLENTY of room for error here. That number 1 could have been added by mistake without anyone ever noticing.

If that's the case, look at the vehicle!!!! is it a 100K mile car or a 200K mile car? not hard to tell on most of them.

Skipping 75 Messages...
atikovi said:   Most people don't have time go back and read 50 messages to try and figure out whose quote someone is talking about.
 

  
I knew without reading.  Deductive reasoning, it's required on the interweb.



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