Inventory is higher than it has been for dealers, but not by much, and dealers still need to fill their lots. On today’s CBT Now, we’re focusing on odometer fraud, which has plagued the retail automotive industry for decades, and ways dealers can avoid potential problems when in the market for a vehicle. We’re pleased to welcome Kirsten Von Busch, Experian’s Director of Product Marketing for Automotive, and Ron Montoya, Edmund’s Senior Consumer Advice Editor and Content Strategy.
Essentially, odometer fraud is when a person manipulates the odometer to hide a vehicle’s actual mileage and pass it off as lower mileage. According to records, Montoya states, “Over 450,000 cars are sold annually with false odometer readings.” Those false readings could cause Americans to overpay billions of dollars annually. In addition, Kirsten claims, “Today, it’s not as easy to identify a faulty odometer by simply looking at it. It’s not the days of the analog odometers that we could physically see If they were changed.” However, there are ways to identify change through the data:
- There are title brands for odometer issues,
- There are auction announcements,
- And at Experian, they utilize modeling to catch discrepancies.
Ultimately, Kirsten explains, “You need to look at the data, see how it’s changed over time, and see if anything stands out.” In addition, it’s crucial to remember that “if an odometer has been altered, the value of the vehicle will decrease, and when you have limited inventory like we do today, this could cost dealerships thousands,” says Montoya.
Kirsten at Experian says, “We recommend consumers to utilize the AutoCheck Vehicle History report, which is a great resource tool to provide background information.” Also, she asserts that Experian reports what gets reported to them. Hence, they recommend anyone purchasing a pre-owned vehicle to get it examined by a licensed mechanic.
Both Kirsten and Montoya express how every dealer and consumer alike need to be aware of potential odometer fraud. It’s vital to keep in the front on mind how technological advances limit the ease of identifying faulty odometers. “Do your due diligence of reviewing your vehicle and the data and history,” asserts Kirsten. While Montoya adds, “If you see any red flags, trust your instincts and ask questions.”