Odometer rollbacks a growing problem in Georgia - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Odometer rollbacks a growing problem in Georgia

Posted: Updated:
DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -

Many of us buy used cars because they're more affordable. But, you want to make sure the price you're paying matches up to the car you're getting.

A car with 140,000 miles on it should be a lot cheaper than a car with 70,000. Unfortunately, just looking at the odometer is not enough to know just how many miles that car has traveled. There has been a spike in cases where the odometer is rolled back so that the price can be pushed up.  

For one college student, she didn't learn about the history of her used car until after she was left stranded by herself in the middle of the night on a Florida highway.

"My wife woke me up and said, ‘Raven is stranded on the side of the road,'" said DeKalb County resident Everett Edwards.

Right before Christmas, Raven Joyner went car shopping at East Side Quality Cars and found the car she wanted.

But, as she reported in a complaint to the state, less than a month after buying it she made a middle-of-the night call to her parents. Her car had died.

"It was dark. I was alone.  It was cold and I was afraid of the alligators, and of my mother," said Joyner.

Her mom didn't want her to drive the 1999 Acura to Miami to see a football game, and definitely not alone. Mom was worried with a car that had 132,000 miles.

If Raven's mother had known the real mileage, she definitely would have put the brakes on this trip. According to a vehicle history report, the car actually had at least 239,000 (239,779) -- the odometer had been rolled back more than 100,000 miles.

Odometer rollbacks are a growing problem. Carfax, a vehicle history agency, reports in that in Georgia in a five-year period there was a 122 percent jump in odometer rollbacks.

The I-Team spoke with the manager of East Side Quality Cars by phone about the 100,000 mile difference in mileage. The manager says he bought the used car with a broken odometer and replaced it with another one.

The I-Team then asked "So, you're saying when you bought this new instrument cluster it had this mileage on it, and you just kept it on it?"

He said, yes, that's what happened, but he didn't think he broke any laws because it's an older car --  exempt, he says,  by federal law from mileage disclosure.  But the Department of Revenue, who oversees the Motor Vehicle Division, sees it differently.  A spokesman says if it happened this way, that is fraud.

The dealership took the car back and returned Raven Joyner's money after she filed a complaint with the state.
 
So, how easy is it to manipulate the new digital odometers? Equipment and software can be bought online that will rollback odometers, and the equipment is not difficult to use.

Josh Ingle, owner of Atlanta Speedometer, says he gets as many as three calls a week asking him to erase miles on a car before the owner puts it up for sale. He says he'll fix broken odometers but won't fraudulently fudge the miles, but some will. 

"If the dealer doesn't disclose the proper mileage, you might be in for a late night call," said Edwards.

Joyner knows now that she should have gotten a vehicle history report before buying the car.  As she says, lesson learned and now she preaches it to her friends.

  • I-Team Story ArchiveMore>>

  • Good Day Atlanta

    Teaching your kids the value of money

    Teaching your kids the value of money

    Monday, September 15 2014 11:22 AM EDT2014-09-15 15:22:34 GMT
    We've all been tempted to buy that extra toy, or give those extra few dollars to our kids to buy something on impulse...but are those the best habits to pass along?
    We've all been tempted to buy that extra toy, or give those extra few dollars to our kids to buy something on impulse...but are those the best habits to pass along?
  • GA Lottery targets shadow winners

    GA Lottery targets shadow winners

    Sunday, September 14 2014 5:30 PM EDT2014-09-14 21:30:57 GMT
    The Georgia Lottery tells the Fox 5 I-Team it's launching a full-scale effort to crack down on so-called "shadow winners.
    The Georgia Lottery tells the Fox 5 I-Team it's launching a full-scale effort to crack down on so-called "shadow winners.
  • Graphic video of Forsyth Co. Courthouse shootout

    Graphic video of Forsyth Co. Courthouse shootout

    Thursday, September 11 2014 4:43 PM EDT2014-09-11 20:43:06 GMT
    FOX 5 has an extended clip of the dramatic shootout at the Forsyth County Courthouse.
    FOX 5 has an extended clip of the dramatic shootout at the Forsyth County Courthouse in June.
  • Contact the FOX 5 I-Team

    * denotes required fields

    We're sorry, but only one entry is allowed per person.
    Thank you for your continued interest.

    Thanks for contacting FOX 5.  To reach our newsroom by phone, please call (404) 898-0100.

  • Good Day ArchiveMore>>

  • Get educated with online classes

    Get educated with online classes

    Monday, September 15 2014 12:40 PM EDT2014-09-15 16:40:23 GMT
    Ever wanted to take classes but thought you didn't have the time or or you couldn't afford it? Well with more and more online options out there, you do and you can. And many of them are free.
    Ever wanted to take classes but thought you didn't have the time or or you couldn't afford it? Well with more and more online options out there, you do and you can. And many of them are free.
  • Good Day Explores The Wide World Of Gourds

    Good Day Explores The Wide World Of Gourds

    Monday, September 15 2014 11:36 AM EDT2014-09-15 15:36:21 GMT
    There's a chill of fall in the air, but that's not the only sign of the approaching change in season. Right now, pumpkin patches are opening around the region -- and whether you're planning on carving
    There's a chill of fall in the air, but that's not the only sign of the approaching change in season. Right now, pumpkin patches are opening around the region -- and whether you're planning on carving or cooking, there are dozens of varieties to choose from. Good Day Atlanta's Paul Milliken has a look from Dawsonville.
  • Good Day Atlanta

    Teaching your kids the value of money

    Teaching your kids the value of money

    Monday, September 15 2014 11:22 AM EDT2014-09-15 15:22:34 GMT
    We've all been tempted to buy that extra toy, or give those extra few dollars to our kids to buy something on impulse...but are those the best habits to pass along?
    We've all been tempted to buy that extra toy, or give those extra few dollars to our kids to buy something on impulse...but are those the best habits to pass along?
Powered by WorldNow

WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
485 S. Highland St.
Memphis, TN 38111

Main Station: (901) 320-1313
Newsroom: (901) 320-1340

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices