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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This turned into a much longer post than I originally thought - I hope it entertains some of you.

I'm new to buying used cars - very inexperienced - and I've recently made several rookie mistakes.

I was in the market for a 2010-2011 Toyota Camry and obsessively stalked Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace for a good deal on one. I found a listing that appeared to be a steal. A 2011 Toyota Camry SE with 98K miles for $4750. All the other 2011 Camrys I saw were priced at $5.5-$6k - at least here in Chicago, so I decided to jump on it. I called the guy that day and set up a viewing for the next day (Saturday).

The first red flag came when I called the guy on Saturday and he said he was sending one of his workers to meet me. Nothing too concerning, but it wasn't the guy I talked to. The second red flag was when I started asking about the history of the car and the guy had no clue what the history was - absolutely nothing - he said they got the car maybe 2 weeks prior. This is when I should have called the guy or checked the title and drilled down on questions.

I decided to test drive the car anyway see how it drove - It drove fantastic. From my point of view, I had a car with low mileage, in great shape, that drove fantastic. I told the worker that before I buy it, I wanted to have my trusted mechanic inspect it. This is where the third red flag happened. The worker was really put off by the request and he called the owner and the owner said no because of this or that, it was all BS excuses. This is where I should have walked, but from my estimation, if worse came to worse I'd had around $2 grand worth of repairs and I break even on the car.

I was thrown off completely by the owner not letting my mechanic inspect the car and almost called the whole deal off, but after going back and forth with the worker, he revealed he recieves commission when he sells cars for the owner and said that if we found someone close by, like a muffler shop or local mechanic to check it out, he wouldn't tell the owner. This reassured me a little bit so we tried one place but they didn’t have time to inspect it and ultimately I decided to move straight to negotiation with the owner.

I talked the guy down from $4750 to $4200 and settled on that. When I handed over the cash to the worker, he gave me the Title and Bill of Sale. I confirmed the VIN #, mileage, and drove off - however, that's all I did.

When I got home and start digging into the Title and paperwork - I was puzzled by the back of the title that looked like this:
  1. Original owner (Wisconsin) sells it to a Toyota Dealership (Wisconsin) (2/22) (95,230 miles)
  2. Toyota Dealership (Wisconsin) sells it to a Private Dealership (Texas) (2/25) (95,265 miles)
  3. Private Dealership (Texas) sells it to another Private dealership (Missouri) (2/28) (95,450 miles)
  • NOT ON TITLE Private Dealership (Missouri) sells it to Car Flipper (Chicago) (no date) (Unknown miles)
This completely threw me off. Why so many dealers in different states, why such a short amount of time between dealers. but after some quick research I realized that used car dealers do this often, especially with wholesale lots of cars - flipping cars from dealer to dealer.

After some research, I came to the conclusion that the seller I bought it from was a car flipper and floated the title. This made me extremely anxious as I just spent most of my car budget in cash and was concerned that I may have just bought a lemon.

I marinated on the fact that I just bought a floated car for all of Sunday, going back and forth between the pros and cons of my purchase realizing that getting my money back seemed very unlikely. I decided to “lay in the bed I made” and go through with registering the car that Monday.

SIDE NOTE - I got a ticket on Sunday for no plates - the previous owner gave me no plates or temp plates - another red flag I should have avoided.

Come Monday, I registered the car to make it legally mine. Then I took it right to my trusted mechanic. He replaces the spark plugs and serpentine belt - both of which were extremely worn down. He said for 95K miles that seemed normal if they were never changed. Other than that, he said that after inspecting the car, his conclusion was that it was well maintained, drove great, and a great purchase.

This made me assured that even though the title was floated, it was overall a good purchase - but something still irked me about the car and I couldn't put my finger on it. That's when I decided to register the VIN # on toyota.com to see if I could get any service records. This is where the title of my post comes full circle.

Looking at the service records I saw that the original owner did in fact take good care of the car, servicing the car exclusively at the dealership, changing the oil every 5-7K miles - doing routine maintenance throughout the years. That’s when I noticed the mileage. The last service record recorded the mileage at 215k! This was 120K more miles than what the odometer said. I thought this had to be a mistake - I mean, the car drove great, it was in excellent condition and my mechanic said nothing was wrong. How could this be possible.

I verified with the dealership, previous owner, and service records that the current mileage was actually around 215K miles. Along the way, one of these “car dealers” tampered with the odometer and rolled back the mileage some 120k miles in order to fetch a higher price for it.

I was still a little confused why it was so cheap. The car drove great and in great shape - however, speaking with the original owner, she said the car started burning a quart of oil every 2.5K miles and that the dealership convinced her to trade it in. They said that it was only going to end up costing her thousands of dollars in repairs (this note probably went from dealer to dealer and was reflected in the price). I told this to my mechanic and he laughed, saying that’s the jobs of the dealership - to sell you on a new car and in reality this was normal for the car’s age and mileage. He recommended switching to oil changes at 3k miles with conventional or blend synthetic oil - keep up with it and I should be golden.

At the end of the day, and after discussing this with my mechanic, I bought a well maintained 2011 Camry SE with no mechanical issues, that drives fantastic, and is in great cosmetic shape. Sure, the title was floated, the odometer was tampered with and it burns a little oil, but as far as I can tell, for it’s age and mileage, burning a quart of oil every 2.5k miles is normal. It may get a lot worse down the road, but I’m keeping the faith. Also to note - the car came with remote start, keyless entry/smart key, a hitch + TRD Alloy Wheels.

With all the said - I wanted to know how common rolling back the odometer is for these 6th gen Camrys. Is it common at all? Did I just get “unlucky”?

295036
 

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Man what a mess! In reality you got hurt by hundreds, not thousands, but obviously that is a small consolation. What you encountered is not that uncommon unfortunately. Craigslist (and FB Marketplace as well) is littered with flippers and small dealers posing as private sellers. I weed the majority of the out by asking how long they have owned the car, maintenance history, etc., and that tends to make them ignore me because they know they will get found out. Yes, you identified several red flags that could have saved you the mistake. Consider a fairly inexpensive lesson and drive it long enough to determine whether or not you can live with the oil usage, etc. If you drive it for a year and roll it for $3,000 without spending any more money on it that wasn't an expensive year of driving.
 

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As far as I know in WI and IL, you should be able to drive a vehicle without plates if you just bought it. Though even then you are just taking a chance and will likely still need paperwork for proof. I have yet to buy a car but the moment they say I cannot take a look at it is when I would not buy the car. If anything, your are only lucky in that there is not much wrong with the car.
 

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Dang, that sucks. I know my 09 I-4 was covered by the excessive oil usage tsb. I don't know if the 11s were subject to it but you might check with the dealer. It was 10 years iirc perhaps you can fix the oil issue that way.

My car now has 354k miles on it but uses quite a bit more oil than that. Coincidentally it never used enough to bother with the consumption test until I was out of the tsb limits.

Given the price you paid I think you still got a good deal If your expectations are reasonable.
 

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Dang, that sucks. I know my 09 I-4 was covered by the excessive oil usage tsb. I don't know if the 11s were subject to it but you might check with the dealer. It was 10 years iirc perhaps you can fix the oil issue that way.

My car now has 354k miles on it but uses quite a bit more oil than that. Coincidentally it never used enough to bother with the consumption test until I was out of the tsb limits.

Given the price you paid I think you still got a good deal If your expectations are reasonable.
It's a 2AR, if it is burning oil I would blame it on age. There has been some threads on 2AR's burning oil but it is not as significant as the 2AZ burning oil.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
It's a 2AR, if it is burning oil I would blame it on age. There has been some threads on 2AR's burning oil but it is not as significant as the 2AZ burning oil.
Correct - this is the 2AR engine- I've read some complaints about burning oil, but nothing as significant as the 2AZ engines, which gives me a little bit of hope.
 

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Dang, that sucks. I know my 09 I-4 was covered by the excessive oil usage tsb. I don't know if the 11s were subject to it but you might check with the dealer. It was 10 years iirc perhaps you can fix the oil issue that way.

My car now has 354k miles on it but uses quite a bit more oil than that. Coincidentally it never used enough to bother with the consumption test until I was out of the tsb limits.

Given the price you paid I think you still got a good deal If your expectations are reasonable.
That's generally how I feel - my expectations are that I may have to drop $2-3k down the road for one thing or another, but if I'm able to get a year or two repair free (outside routine maintenance or small replacements), it'll be worth it.

This is literally the nicest car I've ever owned, I love it. The smart key and Bluetooth (lol) is really a game changer, not to mention the increase in MPG. Overall I've very happy with it.
 

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Run a carfax

Get a refund....report all to attorney general

Hindsight is 20:20....learn your lesson and dont let it happen again

I wouldnt buy a used car without carfaxautocheck
 

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Run a carfax

Get a refund....report all to attorney general

Hindsight is 20:20....learn your lesson and dont let it happen again

I wouldnt buy a used car without carfaxautocheck
One Toyota dealer - the one the original owner sold it to - said that Illinois was a buyer beware state. Not exactly sure what that means, but I'm assuming that means nothing can be done and, even if reported, nothing will come of it - which is the sad part because the guy I bought the car from is still flipping cars on Craigslist. He probably has around 6 listings as we speak, so others are going to continue to get scammed.

Also, I've already put in close $800 after taxes/registration/title/sticker fees + repair work - I really like the car, at this point I'm in it for the long haul.
 

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Heck I would expect 5 years of trouble free usage if you keep up with the maintenance and check the oil every fill up.

It is a Toyota after all :)
That's what I'm talking about! I'm new to owning a Toyota and fairly new to used cars in general - but what I've learned from this experience is that cars are much more about maintenance than mileage - especially when it comes to Toyotas ;)
 

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Buyer beware is one thing, but this sounds more like fraud. If the seller intentionally/ knowingly misrepresented the mileage that is a crime, sold as-is or not. Would be hard to prove, and the actual value in question is relatively small, but it might be worth filing a report just to get the guy one someone's radar.

If you want to just move on and be happy with your new car I'd understand that too.

In high school, one of the first cars I bought lost oil pressure and seized on the highway as the seller was driving it to my house. It was supposed to have a freshly rebuilt engine and ran great when I test drove it. He apologized profusely and I do believe it was just a freak thing, I ended up buying it from him anyway for 10% of what I was going to, and putting a new engine in myself. If it lasted another 25 miles that really would have sucked - that's a buyer beware or sold as is situation.
 

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Buyer beware is one thing, but this sounds more like fraud. If the seller intentionally/ knowingly misrepresented the mileage that is a crime, sold as-is or not. Would be hard to prove, and the actual value in question is relatively small, but it might be worth filing a report just to get the guy one someone's radar.

If you want to just move on and be happy with your new car I'd understand that too.

In high school, one of the first cars I bought lost oil pressure and seized on the highway as the seller was driving it to my house. It was supposed to have a freshly rebuilt engine and ran great when I test drove it. He apologized profusely and I do believe it was just a freak thing, I ended up buying it from him anyway for 10% of what I was going to, and putting a new engine in myself. If it lasted another 25 miles that really would have sucked - that's a buyer beware or sold as is situation.
Yeah that's the thing, I have no idea if the seller rolled back the miles or if the person he bought it from rolled back the miles. Also, this guy's name isn't on paper at all. The whole thing is mess and like you mentioned, I just want to move on than try and fight it. I have no proof, but I really like this is part of some crime syndicate or something, a network of car flippers.
 

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I don't think they could "roll back" the miles. I think they pull the cluster from a car with less miles. The clusters should have a vin number on them. It would be a pita to check but of I were serious about suing a scammer I would find out. Perhaps keep him from doing it to others.
 

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In Virginia odometer tampering gets you triple damages and loss of dealers license and a felony conviction. Sounds like a carfax would have shown the mileage, especially with dealership involvement. I recently bought a 1998 Sienna with barely 100k miles on the odometer, for $1200. Cosmetically it was a mess and it needed some brake work including an ABS module that I got for $65 used, shipped and guaranteed versus the $2k from the dealership. I spent many days cleaning the coffee stains and mitigating the cigarette burns in the carpets, finally dyeing the carpets.
Never painted, interior now looks very nice, but I have thousands of hours experience and rarely use carfax, but the extensive (over 20) and the fact that it had oil changes every 5k miles (about yearly for that low mileage) demonstrated that the original owner could afford to care for the van.
My 98 year old father bought the van and now it is sitting in his garage and is used to transport him and mom anytime they want to go somewhere with any of their 4 sons and their families.
 

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One Toyota dealer - the one the original owner sold it to - said that Illinois was a buyer beware state. Not exactly sure what that means, but I'm assuming that means nothing can be done and, even if reported, nothing will come of it - which is the sad part because the guy I bought the car from is still flipping cars on Craigslist. He probably has around 6 listings as we speak, so others are going to continue to get scammed.

Also, I've already put in close $800 after taxes/registration/title/sticker fees + repair work - I really like the car, at this point I'm in it for the long haul.
Your thoughts are exactly mine. The market in the Chicagoland area is so wide you're bound to find something that does not add up. Sellers have no remorse.

Yeah that's the thing, I have no idea if the seller rolled back the miles or if the person he bought it from rolled back the miles. Also, this guy's name isn't on paper at all. The whole thing is mess and like you mentioned, I just want to move on than try and fight it. I have no proof, but I really like this is part of some crime syndicate or something, a network of car flippers.
Hate to say this, but this is very common practice. I'm not sure on the legality of it, but there are plenty of cases. I see it all the time on craigslist.
 

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@Greasymechtech , has the best answer here, IMO. Sloofer, a Google search will tell you that rolling back an odometer and being dishonest about the actual milage in Illinois is illegal and you do have legal recourse. But the course of action that you take is up to you. Google odometer rollback in Illinois and you will find your answer.
Glenn
 

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@Greasymechtech , has the best answer here, IMO. Sloofer, a Google search will tell you that rolling back an odometer and being dishonest about the actual milage in Illinois is illegal and you do have legal recourse. But the course of action that you take is up to you. Google odometer rollback in Illinois and you will find your answer.
Glenn
I just might - but the thing is I need a copy of the original title from SoS. They only gave me a copy of the front of it. What I know is this, the Toyota dealership sold the car to an auction with the correct mileage, I have copies of their paperwork - then from the auction it went to the Texas dealership, then the one in Missouri. My guess is that one of those two committed the fraud, but I have no idea. Once I get the copy of the title I will call the dealerships to get whatever copies they have and go from there.
 
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