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post #1 of 17 Old 06-08-2019, 05:43 AM Thread Starter
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How do I sell Camry with odometer that's been tampered with?

I got ripped off when I bought my beautiful 2012 Camry. I paid $11,000 for it. That's not the problem. When I took it to the dealer to get it checked out it had 130,000 miles on it last time it had been serviced. When I bought it the odometer said 54,000 miles. It turned out the person that sold it to me changed out the instrument panel. Now, two years later I want to sell it. I took it to a dealer, and they wouldn't buy it. I took it to a small car dealer and they offered me $2500 for it! How do I sell this car? I did report it to the state police; I have the police report from two years ago, but I never did find the guy who ripped me off.

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post #2 of 17 Old 06-08-2019, 06:40 AM
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What does your state department of transportation have to say about it? On the sales portion of our Mass. title (the part you fill out when you sell a car) has an "odometer disclosure statement" with one option being "I hereby state the odometer reading is not the actual mileage. WARNING - ODOMETER DISCREPANCY."

You'll probably get more for it selling it yourself, rather than taking it to a dealer.

I would concoct a chart, something like this:

1. Last recorded original mileage, 130,xxx on [date1]
2. Purchased car on [date] with inaccurate stated mileage of 54,xxx on [date2]

A. Days between last original mileage and my purchase, [date2 - date1 = xx days]
B. Average miles per day based on 13,476 miles/year = 13476/365 = 36.9 miles*
C. More nearly accurate mileage when I purchased: product of (A.) days * 36.9

3. More nearly accurate mileage today: (C.) + xx miles you've driven the car.

*Source: https://www.autogravity.com/autograv...ar-lease-guide -- that page also has a few specific state averages when you scroll down.

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post #3 of 17 Old 06-08-2019, 09:21 AM Thread Starter
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I contacted the person whose name was on the title. There was an active XM Sirius subscription on the car. I called XM and got the guy's phone number. He had just sold the car. He bought it with 130,000 miles on it. He sold it with about 145,000 miles on it. I know how many miles I put on it, so the car has about 170,000 miles on it.

My title says "Not Actual Mileage." The state police have a report. They contacted the person who sold it to me, and really scared him. He had nothing to do with the guy he sold it to changing out the instrument panel.

I am scared to sell it myself. I don't want to put an ad on Craigslist -- that's how I got ripped off. I just want to bring it somewhere. I don't want to deal with waiting. What aggravates me is the car looks and drives amazing. The body is almost perfect. I put new tires on it, and a lot of work when I first bought it. I'd rather give it to charity than take $2500 for it. I got an instant offer from Auto Trader for around $8000. The dealer I brought it to was going to give me $7000 until he found out the mileage was wrong. Selling it myself is just scary to me. I feel like big enough of a jerk for not seeing the obvious when I bought the car. There were so many signs it was a scam. I will certainly never buy privately again!

All I want to do is bring the car to a dealer, get a check and leave.

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post #4 of 17 Old 06-08-2019, 09:39 AM
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I'm lost in the narrative. I need a scorecard.

Earlier, you said, "When I bought it the odometer said 54,000 miles. It turned out the person that sold it to me changed out the instrument panel."

Just now, you add that the person that sold the car to you told you, "[that] He had just sold the car. He bought it with 130,000 miles on it. He sold it with about 145,000 miles on it."

And, "The state police .... contacted the person who sold it to me [this is the dealer, right?], and really scared him. He had nothing to do with the guy he sold it to changing out the instrument panel."

Is the "person that sold it to me" the dealer who won't buy it back?

Who changed (or re-programmed) the instrument panel?

And you bought it after seeing that the title says, "Not Actual Mileage"? Did the person who sold it to you point that out? A dealer in Massachusetts MUST point that out, and, I think, have you initial it.

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post #5 of 17 Old 06-08-2019, 09:53 AM Thread Starter
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Sorry, I know it's confusing!

Quote:
Originally Posted by OleAvalon View Post
I'm lost in the narrative. I need a scorecard.

Earlier, you said, "When I bought it the odometer said 54,000 miles. It turned out the person that sold it to me changed out the instrument panel."

Just now, you add that the person that sold the car to you told you, "[that] He had just sold the car. He bought it with 130,000 miles on it. He sold it with about 145,000 miles on it."

And, "The state police .... contacted the person who sold it to me [this is the dealer, right?], and really scared him. He had nothing to do with the guy he sold it to changing out the instrument panel."

Is the "person that sold it to me" the dealer who won't buy it back?

Who changed (or re-programmed) the instrument panel?

And you bought it after seeing that the title says, "Not Actual Mileage"? Did the person who sold it to you point that out? A dealer in Massachusetts MUST point that out, and, I think, have you initial it.
None of this matters. All I want to know is how to sell a car with altered mileage.

Person A whose name was on the title sold it to the person who I bought the car from. Person A bought the car from a dealer. The car had 130,000 miles on on it. Person A sold it to Person B with around 145,000 miles on it. Person B swapped out the instrument panel for one that had 54,000 miles on it.

Person B sold me the car from an ad on Craigslist. Person A's name was still on the title. Person B signed it and said Person A was his uncle. Person B whited everything out and put 54,000 miles on the title.

This was reported to the police. The police never found Person B.
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post #6 of 17 Old 06-08-2019, 10:56 AM
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What a sad sales narrative. I would have thought the police would be interested in pursuing major fraud. Sorry that it happened to you.

So much of what you need at this point depends on local legislation and local conditions -- is there anyone you can turn to for local guidance? Maybe via church or club or anywhere that good people hang out?

Most charitable car donation places offer you tax deductions, but they won't be selling it at more than the wholesale (car auction) price. Actually, they probably won't be selling it -- they'll turn it over to an asset disposal company.

Hopefully either this or your other thread will attract people at TN who have in-depth knowledge.

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post #7 of 17 Old 06-08-2019, 02:21 PM Thread Starter
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I appreciate that, thanks! The police worked really hard, I think. They also told me this scam was very common.

I feel so dumb. All the signs were there. The whited out title. And the car was detailed so perfectly, now I know that's another sign.

The one really good thing is it's an excellent car. Whoever had it must have just done highway miles. Last time I brought it in to Toyota the service guy glanced at it and thought it was a new car.

Do you think I should take it to another dealer? The first one told me that since they couldn't verify the miles they couldn't sell it.

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post #8 of 17 Old 06-08-2019, 03:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by junebugapril View Post
Do you think I should take it to another dealer? The first one told me that since they couldn't verify the miles they couldn't sell it.
Again, I think this is possibly a state mandate, unless your first dealer was only imposing that dealer's internal policy.

I'd say call him up and ask if cars that he sells are required by the state to have absolutely clean titles, no mileage discrepancy. If that's the case, you can go to as many dealers as you want in your state, and you'll get the same response, at least from legit dealers.

Another source of info at least here in Mass. is insurance people. My insurance company knows far more than I do about Mass. regulations and I depend on them to steer me right.

Our 03 Avalon came out of an incredibly complex New York estate, and they helped a family friend who had inherited it, the friend being a Mass. resident, obtain a temporary Mass. registration so that she could sell it to us easily.

If you have a lawyer, by all means bring her into this...

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post #9 of 17 Old 06-08-2019, 04:15 PM
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If you can find the person you might try small claims court. Ask for the damaged amount.
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post #10 of 17 Old 06-08-2019, 04:53 PM
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In Virginia the person who sold you the car would be guilty of odometer tampering and title flipping which is selling you a car he does not own, which can bring the previous owner into the legal entanglement. I would take out a summons to appear on both of them and let the judge sort it out. Definitely Va would never transfer any title with any alterations on the title. It's hard to believe they did that, when they should have made the legitimate owner (name on title) get a duplicate without the alterations.

This is fraud, a felony in Virginia with triple damages for the money you spent to buy the car, PLUS the legal cost to you. That's Virginia law and the DMV here will give you a copy of the state inspections with a mileage progression that would clearly show the actual mileage before the title transfer.

I would contact the state attorney and press charges against both parties. A felony warrant means the perp can be arrested anywhere and brought back to your state for prosecution, either the real owner whose name is on the title or the seller who sold something he did not own is in serious legal jeopardy.

You learned a serious lesson buying from a title flipper, but the title owner is also complicit, since he failed to do what he is legally required to do when selling the vehicle.

I've won a few judgements for my customers for odometer fraud as a witness but it never went to court, the sellers always cave in when they understand they will be a convicted felon and the cost will be at least 3 times what you paid for the vehicle. Maybe not in your state, but you should check it out.
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post #11 of 17 Old 06-08-2019, 07:08 PM
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One time we went to the DMV tio transfer a vehicle to my wife's parents. When we filled out the title the pen ran out of ink so we grabbed another pen which was black while the first one was blue. Nothing whited out, no mistakes. The $%^&*( DMV made us get a duplicate title for that reason ONLY. My mother in law was on oxygen and we were in that %^&** DMV for 3 hours getting a simple transfer done.

To the OP, maybe it was a lesson learned but the solution, only buying a car from a dealership may not be the best choice.

An example, the wife owned a Subaru that she bought new from the dealership. Later on we found out the car has been wrecked. Further investigation found out that the law in Virginia allowed the dealership to repair a vehicle as long as it was less that 7% of the "actual cash value" of the car. Now understand the dealership is in total control of this situation and they can write any estimate of the repair cost and they know the "actual cash value" of the car.

Be aware of what a dealership can do, they sold my wife a wrecked car as new. Then they soaked her on all the "recommended maintenance" totalling over a thousand dollars for 30k miles. We got married and she never went to a dealership again without me and they could no longer take advantage of her. The last time she bought a new car the dealership does free oil changes, state inspections, and guarantees the powertrain all for the life of the car as long as she is the owner. Works for me but even then they recommended tire rotations every 5 k miles.

Know why? So you won't see tire wear patterns that could indicate alignment problems ON A NEW CAR (2 of the last 3 new cars I bought had significant alignment issues).

They tried that crap on me with a 2006 Corolla I bought new. At 20k miles I got a rear axle replacement and a new set of tires (even needed a frame adjustment on a unibody car-put me in a loaner) at another dealership whose service manager I knew personally. The original selling dealership CHARGED me for a rotate and balance, but only balanced 2 tires, Never went there again except to get the "free" set of tires.

Good advice, understand the seller, whoever it is is there for the money. If you were a fly on the wall in the sales managers office, you would hear them gloating about how many thousands they made on that deal, YOUR THOUSANDS.
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post #12 of 17 Old 06-08-2019, 08:23 PM Thread Starter
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All wonderful advice, thank you. I never thought of going to the DMV about the mileage at inspections. Good idea! Although I am pretty sure I know how many miles it has on it.

Yes, here in Illinois it is done like it is done in Virginia. The problem was, the guy I bought the car from disappeared. He met me in a public parking lot to give me the car. He never answered his phone again when I called him. He never transferred the title over to his name. I didn't ask for his drivers license or his address. All I had was his phone number. Live and learn, right?

I don't understand what the previous owner did wrong. He signed the title over to the guy I bought the car from. Why would he be liable? The state police did pay him a visit. I had given them all the information.

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post #13 of 17 Old 06-08-2019, 08:32 PM Thread Starter
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Oh wait, yes I did ask for his name and address and phone number. The address turned out to be fake.
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post #14 of 17 Old 06-08-2019, 08:55 PM Thread Starter
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I spoke to another Toyota dealer. He said he would be happy to take the car on a trade in but wouldn't buy it outright. He said my best bet was a private party, of course. I told him I didn't want to sell it privately. But... I do have a friend that needs a car. I asked him what he thought would be fair, and he said $3500 to $4000 would be a very good deal for both of us. Kelly Blue book says with the actual miles it has on it, and the condition it is in, trade in range is $4600 to $4800, and private party range is $6000 to $7500. I am thinking of just selling it to her for $4000. What do you think?
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post #15 of 17 Old 06-09-2019, 04:42 AM
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I sold repaired salvage vehicles for decades, kind of a hobby. I think you have found your solution and now you know when to be skeptical. Legally pursuing the person whose name is on the title, who was the "owner" when you bought the car from the "flipper" would be a exercise in frustration and would only teach both of you an expensive lesson. The flipper has wiped his tracks clean and you have almost no chance of getting him in court.

When I sold my shop, I told the buyer, who had been my employee, "be a stranger to the court system and you will do well". He is still there, owned the shop longer than I did, but he ignored the advice, until a judge gave neither him or the other party anything in the suit, except a bill for good money spent very badly.

I think $4k is a good deal, go for it, sounds like a good car, even with the issues. The kelly book gives you an very good example of the difference in purchase prices AND never forget the dealers buy from the same source as yourself. I think you smelled a rat in the transaction, no need to beat yourself up over the situation.
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