Odometer Rollbacks on the Rise

FOX 5 I-Team

Odometer Rollbacks on the Rise

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Georgia tops a list that we'd probably rather skip. And it matters since many of us, at some point, have bought a used car. In the southeast, Georgia ranks number one in odometer rollbacks.

So, when we heard this family's story, boy, it sounded so familiar to many others who've complained about an odometer that's been rolled back. What we weren't expecting is to find the car salesman was a man the I-Team had met before.

Joshua Tittle says he saw a used 2000 Passat on Craigslist. It was just what the young family needed – a second car. Mr. Tittle is a married, working dad with two little boys.

He recalls, "It looked pretty good, the mileage was low."

The odometer read 143,000 miles. The Tittles snapped it up for $2,400, but in less than 24 hours, this pretty good deal started looking pretty bad.

"I found a piece of paper under the seat and it had a different mileage number," said Tittle.

He says it showed more than 252,000 miles on the odometer. That didn't make sense, so he pulled a Carfax vehicle history report. Yep, there it was again - 252,732. One hundred thousand miles more than what the odometer actually read when he bought the car.

We don't know exactly how it happened, but we do know that odometer rollbacks are a nationwide problem.

Carfax , a national vehicle history reporting site, says it sees a lot of this lately. Right now, their records show more than 40,000 cars in Georgia may have had their odometers rolled back. This puts us fourth in the nation behind pretty big states like California, Texas and New York.

Joshua Tittle's situation is part of a recurring theme, but something else struck us as familiar. Jay Lamin, the same man who sold Tittle his car, last year tried to sell the I-Team one. In our case, Lamin had a 13-year-old Mercedes Benz with only 129,000 miles on it. Or that's what the odometer read anyway. The Carfax report showed that it had actually racked up more than 200,000 miles.

We didn't buy, but Joshua Tittle bought the Passat. His frustration though is about more than high miles. He's had to park his car because he says Jay Lamin can't find the title. How long has it been?

"That was six months ago."

I caught up with Lamin on the phone. At first, he said he didn't remember the car or Joshua Tittle. I reminded him that just

three weeks ago he had promised Tittle he was going to get him a new car, then the tap dance began. Suddenly, he did remember the car, but he was sure he gave him the title. Wait, maybe he didn't after all.

The fast talker who tells tales suddenly had a change of heart. He offered to return Joshua Tittle's money, but Tittle wasn't buying it.

Fortunately, he was wrong. Jay Lamin, he says, sent two men to return his money and take back the car.

According to Carfax, odometer rollbacks are a $761 million dollar a year problem. Cars generally are rolled back more than 50,000 miles, and the most susceptible vehicles are 14- to-15 years old.

If you are used shopping, here are two non-negotiable points: get a vehicle history reports and get an inspection by a trusted mechanic.

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