Weeks after Purchase, I Discovered the Odometer was Rolled Back. Can I Sue?


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There are various crimes involved in car sales. Odometer fraud is one of these, and it does permit the new owner certain actions when he or she discovers the crime. Even though this is not a legal action, there may only be so much time to pursue a course after the odometer issue is revealed.

If any action may be sought for the issue, it is important to ensure as much evidence is gathered as possible. While it may be possible to seek criminal charges against the company, it is best to consult with a lawyer before doing anything. These illegal activities are governed by specific organizations and legal groups, and it may be possible to breach a deal with the company due to the illegal behavior.

Before any specific action is taken on behalf of the new owner, he or she must determine what he or she wants to do and wants out of the situation. If the vehicle is in good working order but has more miles, it may be possible to keep it and change the deal with the company. However, if the car is on its last legs, it may be more beneficial to break the deal and pursue criminal legal action against the company. After contacting a lawyer versed in dealership fraud and other crimes, he or she may assist in explaining the possible outcomes of different action sought.

How the Odometer May Affect the Car

The amount of miles a vehicle has driven throughout its life has a direct effect on the viability and efficiency of the car. This means that the more miles are driven, the greater damage and wear and tear are placed on the automobile. This could mean that the engine breaks down, that the oil sections are not efficient and leak or require repairs and other parts may need to be replaced. If the odometer registered hundreds of thousands of miles, this could mean the life of the vehicle is nearing its end. The affect this has for the driver is that a new car is needed soon. It is illegal for a car dealership to roll back the miles on the car for any reason.

There are certain odometer statutes in effect that protect the buyers of vehicles if the miles have been set back. Sometimes this means criminal charges for the company or person involved in this illegal activity. It is important to discover this and other crimes as soon as possible. This may be accomplished through a CarFax report or similar checks for the details online. If the numbers did not always change due to various factors, this may lead to a discrepancy in the odometer reading. This means that the company may be attempting to pass off the miles as less than was reported previously.

Pursuing Action

If the odometer was changed intentionally or the miles were not registered correctly through a willful action, it is possible to seek action when there is enough evidence to present in court. It is important to consult with a lawyer first to ensure there is enough information and details for a case. Once the legal professional has given the go ahead, law enforcement needs to be contacted. Provided there are no statute of limitations issues, a case may be initiated once the correct parties have been notified of legal action. This could mean a letter from a lawyer or it could be an arrest with law enforcement. This may depend on the state regulations in addition to any other laws that were broken.

If the person is seeking compensation through litigation, a lawyer needs to send a letter to the company of the intent to sue. This means that the legal professional believes there is enough evidence and information to proceed with a lawsuit against the company. However, the damages owed to the person need to be extensive enough that litigation is worth the time, money and energy to effect in the court room. In most locations, if the compensation possible is less than $5000, the issue goes to small claims court. In addition to what is received, other expenses must be considered.

The Litigation Lawyer

When proceeding with litigation, it is necessary in most cases to hire a lawyer. This legal professional will analyze the claim and provide assistance and advice throughout the entire situation. With his or her help, it is possible to received damages owed.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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