Ohio Dealership Group Accused of Odometer Rollbacks and Deceptive Practices

Chris Teague
by Chris Teague

ohio dealership group accused of odometer rollbacks and deceptive practices

Odometer rollbacks were a thing back in the day when cars had mechanical components tracking mileage instead of advanced computers. Despite the complexity involved in tampering with modern vehicles, one Ohio dealership group is accused of rolling back the mileage on used vehicles and deceiving buyers about the condition of its inventory.


Ohio’s state Attorney General, Dave Yost, is taking action against Mega Group, a Columbus-based company accused of several offenses, including rolling back odometers, tampering with paperwork, and failing to disclose the rebuilt/salvage designations on vehicle titles. Mega Group also sold cars at an unapproved location and failed to file title applications with the state on time.


Yost’s lawsuit aims to help impacted customers, but his office has received dozens of complaints, so it’s unclear how much relief each will get. At the very least, the dealership group may face a suspension or revocation of its license if it’s found guilty, and there are serious federal consequences involved in some cases. Depending on the verdict, federal penalties could reach $10,000 and up to three years in jail.


New vehicles have electronic odometers that can’t be tampered with as easily as the old-school mechanical units. However, bad actors can still crack them and roll back the odometer with code and software instead of a screwdriver.


[Image: Pamela Au via Shutterstock]


Become a TTAC insider. Get the latest news, features, TTAC takes, and everything else that gets to the truth about cars first by  subscribing to our newsletter.

Comments
Join the conversation
 10 comments
  • Dukeisduke Dukeisduke 6 days ago

    Later mechanical odometers are probably better than the electronic ones. The manufacturers figured out how to make them tamper-evident, like adding "flags" between the digits, that would appear if the odometer were turned backwards.


    The owner should get 20 years in prison, to make an example out of him.

  • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later 6 days ago

    Believable odometer fraud is difficult to accomplish and not worth it since its a Federal charge. Even in the Before Times clocking something small such as 10K is meaningless short of exotics and its difficult to do a big clock with not only not being caught but it being believable to the customer and/or block. From a crime-to-profit perspective it would be much more lucrative to sell the theft recovery/R-titles as unblemished (state charges max AFAIK) than it would be to purposely clock the cars.


    Its also worth noting in the 00's they started storing the odo data in multiple locations in the vehicles (similar to how they have VINs everywhere on them now), the last models to keep it in the dashpod only either ended production (Volvo P80) or were modified by the mid 00s (Lexus SC430 in refresh).

    • See 2 previous
    • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later 6 days ago

      @SCE

      I came across that tidbit when I sold my Grand Prix. I don't recall exactly when in the final gen, but by MY08 the odo data was stored in the dash pod and ECU (I read something about if a dash pod is replaced as part of collision you had to sync the mileage from the ECU with Tech 2). V

      Volvo updated the then new platforms similarly, but the P80 was skipped though it was built through 2005 as the C70.

      @Lou

      Exactly. Unless one knew the most recent mileage recording and tried to clock it a little to go back to it, all it would take it a quick Carfax to see the discrepancy - then one has earned a nice stay at the Federal crowbar motel.


  • Ravenuer Ravenuer 6 days ago

    Where there's a will, there's a way!

  • The Oracle The Oracle 6 days ago

    This is very popular among luxury European. Wanda such as BMW, Audi, and Merc. Eastern European and former Soviet bloc actors are well known to title wash, roll back, and even Frankenstein these vehicles back on the market.

Next