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Unread 06-03-2013, 10:40 AM   #1
jeepgcltd
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Odometer fraud, did I get ripped off?

I bought a 2000 Grand Cherokee Limited from a guy on craigslist a few weeks ago. I had the truck inspected by a mechanic before buying but failed to run a Carfax. The odometer read 143,xxx. The truck was extremely clean and the inspection turned out alright so we settled at $4,500. Only thing wrong with it was that the airbag and seatbelt lights stayed on constantly. Fast forward a couple weeks later when I take it back to a mechanic to get the lights fixed, when they pulled the cluster they showed me that it had been replaced meaning that the mileage was not accurate. Great, so I run a Carfax and find out that this truck really has approximately 225,xxx miles on it. I know without a doubt that the guy that sold it to me replaced the cluster to make a little more money off of it because the Carfax leaves off at the dealer he told me he bought it from (where they reported the accurate mileage).

So that's nearly a 100,000 mile difference and I can't do anything about it because the vehicle is over 10 years old and he claimed exempt on the title. I would have never bought a car with this many miles on it but the more I read about the inline 6, it sounds as though they can go for quite a while with the proper maintenance. My biggest fear is that it's going to kill over before I can even pay the loan off. What should I be looking out for at this stage in its life? The records show a very regular service schedule from the time it was bought and I know it was well taken care of just by its physical condition. Just still extremely angry and a little worried about the mileage.

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Unread 06-03-2013, 03:27 PM   #2
IRSmart
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talk to a lawyer, you may have recourse. you may be able to prove that he maliciously replaced the gauge clus...wait a minute, as i'm typing this, isn't the mileage stored in the car's computer, not the gauge cluster? is the odometer digital or analog?
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Unread 06-03-2013, 03:33 PM   #3
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Illegal!!!

Talk to the police, local BMV and get it documented then speak to a lawyer.
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Unread 06-03-2013, 04:45 PM   #4
jeepgcltd
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It's a digital odometer. I can even tell the junk yard he pulled it from by the writing on it. I'm guessing the cluster is keeping the information from the previous Jeep it was in and that's also why the airbag and seat belt lights are staying on. Every thing I've read tells me that since he claimed exempt on the mileage, he can get away with it but I'll take your advice and ask around some more. He has several other cars on craigslist right now that I'm willing to bet he's doing the exact same things with.
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Unread 06-04-2013, 08:13 AM   #5
Adam013085
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Tampering with the odometer is against the law. By the time you have legal fees and such it may not be worth it for $4500. I am not a lawyer so I could be wrong about that. I would think if he replaced the cluster for a certain reason he should disclose that information to you unless he was trying to hide something which appears he was.
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Unread 06-04-2013, 08:44 AM   #6
Jason
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IRSmart View Post
talk to a lawyer, you may have recourse. you may be able to prove that he maliciously replaced the gauge clus...wait a minute, as i'm typing this, isn't the mileage stored in the car's computer, not the gauge cluster? is the odometer digital or analog?
The mileage is stored independently in both the cluster and PCM (or maybe BCM?, if present).

OP, replacing a cluster with a junkyard one is fine, but the mileage discrepancy needs to be reported. Not sure about your location, but here it's done with a sticker on the door by the vehicle and tire loading info sticker. If this isn't there, and the discrepancy wasn't reported to you, then you should explore legal action.
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Unread 06-06-2013, 06:52 AM   #7
trailboss
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There is no "exemption" from fraud. At the *very* least, he should have reported the switch to DMV and gotten documentation to that effect. He did not. If the statute of limitations is still in effect, and it sounds as if it is, talk to a lawyer and see if it is actionable. You may be able to recoup costs: difference between what the vehicle is worth between the 2 different mileages. You also may be able to get punitive funds for the sellers hiding significant facts about the vehicle. In the long run, it's going to cost you as more and more things start to go wrong....I'd at least get a free consult and see what's up and if it's worth pursuing. I hate guys who do this sh*t.....
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Unread 06-07-2013, 05:37 PM   #8
RyanStorm
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I have seen this so many times. My friends sister just got screwed. The odometer said like 89k, but she was cleaning the car and found a Jiffylube receipt where they spend like $300 tuning it up for sale and on the receipt it said like 160k miles from only 3 months earlier. So either they used the car for a bunch of Mexican drug runs and sold it off, or they "screwed" with the odometer.

She goes to the Local KSL classified where she found it, and the ad is gone, and she picked it up from a mutual location with no house to go to! The only link to owner is the phone number which is easily to hide from, they just changed the number.


Pretty much you need to learn this stuff the easy way from friends and family who go through it or you learn the hard way from own mistakes. Trust me it will suck. I learned the hard way about buying from a used dealership even though my Mom taught me good about car buying but you can't save yourself from full blown liars which lie out their *** to get you to sign/buy the car. Luckily my step brothers uncle and cousin are lawyers/attorneys. I was able to drive the car back to small dealership and leave the keys with the ****** bag with contact info, never heard from them ever again and no record on my credit.

When your talking private sale, I don't know how your going to fix it, unless your able to find the person who sold it. An attorney who can do the contacting for you is the best idea, they can easily find the owner through Vin numbers. My friends sister didn't bother cause she barely had the 1k to buy the car. But was too "honest" to try and re-sell it under the false pretenses to get her 1k back.
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Unread 06-08-2013, 01:57 PM   #9
jeepgcltd
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Thanks for all the sound advice. I have contacted a couple of attorneys and will hopefully get in to talk with someone next week to see if I have a case worth pursuing. I know where the guy lives and have all of his information so that shouldn't be the difficult part. He has several other cars for sale sitting in his yard that I'm willing to bet he's doing the same things with. This is how he makes his living. One google search of his name returned a mugshot from 2010 where he was arrested for DUI amongst other charges. It's pretty obvious he can't get a real job because of his record so he has to screw other people out of their money. At the very least, I plan on filing a report with the police department so that this doesn't happen to anyone else and they can put a stop to him. I'm pretty sure it's illegal to even be selling as many cars as he is with out a dealer's license. I know he's not paying the taxes on them, he told me we could put down whatever I wanted for the sell price and that he does it all the time to get a break on taxes.
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Unread 06-09-2013, 04:15 PM   #10
RyanStorm
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I would ask for more info on the next Jeep. The best thing is to get the VIN#, so you can search it. I usually call all the local oil shops to see if it is in the records and if so, I see how often it was taken in. Things will not always show up, because a lot of guys do their own maintenance, so if they have no records at all, pick at them to see their mechanic knowledge. Carfax is cool, but again not all things will show up, especially for guys who do their own work and have buddies.

Which is why I always advise people to get it checked out by a real mechanic at a real shop, not by people like me to check it out on the street or in my garage. I personally have a mechanic, my Dads long time buddy who retired young and started a mechanic shop.

He has worked on all our cars and trucks since I was born, a trustworthy mechanic is a very valuable asset. When buying a used car, I have him run the computer, and just do the inspection on it. He can tell me what repairs I need to do. If I end up buying it, he already has the inspection done for me, if not its just a few bucks to save my *** from dropping money into a money pit of a car.

By doing this, I do the best thing you can do when buying a used car, which is buying a car without broken parts. Most important of everything: Condition and Miles are everything, and if you don't know them, then you pay too much and get ripped. Always make sure you really know, never trust anything the seller says.

Your mechanic will tell you how many miles it has, overall condition, cost of future repairs(like which parts will need replacing in near future), how much to get it in good condition now, and other things like how much you should pay for it, etc.
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Unread 06-16-2013, 11:55 AM   #11
brownbagg
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you going pay more for the lawyer than what the car sold for
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Unread 06-16-2013, 12:19 PM   #12
austin6137
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Its 13 years old get over it if its history is so important to you, you should of ran the car fax first. Not to mention carfax is useless IMHO.
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Unread 06-17-2013, 07:29 AM   #13
IRSmart
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Its 13 years old get over it if its history is so important to you, you should of ran the car fax first. Not to mention carfax is useless IMHO.
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Unread 06-17-2013, 09:02 AM   #14
WhiteOut
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You managed to find a bank that would give a loan for a 13 year old Jeep?
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Unread 06-17-2013, 09:18 AM   #15
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is the term 'as is, where is' not included on bills of sale in the US?

when you buy a decade old vehicle 'as is, where is' tclause usually clears the seller and buyer takes all the liability;

i sell a lot of vehicles and won't sell one without that, being signed and acknowledged; the reason is ths: maybe the guy that sold you the jeep had no clue the cluster was changed. maybe he got it like that.

so: if you sue him, and he wasn't aware, what does he do? go sue the other guy he bought it from? and the guy before that because someone at some time didn't put a sticker on a door? can someone eventually sue Chrysler for making interchangeable parts?

no. the BUYER at some point has to take responsibility for his actions.

sorry Mate. you just learnt a hard lesson in buying used crap/cars.............

ALL THIS SAID....... take him to Judge Judy. that would be sweet
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