DENVER (KDVR) — Joaquin, who chooses not to provide his last name for security reasons, was excited to be able to get a new car using the convenience of Facebook Marketplace.
He quickly became disenchanted when he showed the title to the registration clerk at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Joaquin was informed that the mileage had been changed.
“She goes, ‘If you look really close to the title, you can tell they erased the (number) one.’ Instead of 82,000 miles from the previous owner they bought it from, it was 182,000 miles,” he said.
The odometer, which reflects the mileage of a vehicle, had been rolled back.
“I never even noticed they were so good at forging it,” Joaquin said.
The title was marked as being “exempt,” but Joaquin must reveal the history of the car if he wants to sell it in the future.
How to spot odometer fraud?
The Problem Solvers asked The Auto Station repair shop in Sheridan about how drivers can spot odometer rollbacks. Manager Kevin Howard told FOX31 that the first step is to take the car to a certified mechanic for a check-up before making the purchase.
“If that is a question of the odometer being true, then we can get to the bottom of that,” Howard said, referring to a diagnosis tool called a code scanner.
“The computer is not going to falsify that odometer reading,” Howard said.
It is also important to have a full inspection of the vehicle to make certain that it is safe.
“We’ll check pad, thickness, rotor condition, rotor maintenance. We’ll check all the suspension,” Howard said.
Howard warned that many cars on lots, and especially online, may look fantastic, but when it comes to safety, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.
“We’ve seen cars come in here that are very shiny, very well cleaned and mechanically not safe,” he said.
Consumer safety experts say if you are in the market for a new vehicle, don’t trust any seller that won’t allow you to do a test drive or have the car checked out by a certified mechanic or provide a Carfax history report.
All incidences of fraud should be reported to the Colorado Attorney General’s office at stopfraudcolorado.gov.