Unless California had its own law against it, it was not illegal to “clock” an odometer in the early '70s. It was dishonest, immoral, and not very nice, but it didn’t become a crime until the passage of the federal statute in 1994. Now days a person can do time in a federal pen for rolling one back. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but the large number of cars we see with 200K and even 300K miles suggests that it’s rare. http://www…h/odom.htm
A recent (less than 2 weeks ago ) USA Today story rated digital odometer rollback as the #1 property crime (in terms of dollars) in the country.
Yes it’s illegal. That’s my point. It WASN’T illegal, at least on the federal level, in the time frame of the puzzler. The article referenced by oldschool( http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2008-09-08-odometers_n.htm ) points to possibly 450,000 cars a year. The industry predicts 12.5 million NEW cars will be sold this year. I wonder how many times more than that will account for USED car sales, making 450,000 a very small percentage. Can anyone find a reliable statistic?
Where do you get your info? The “Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act” (popularly known as “The Odometer Act”) was signed into law by Richard Nixon in 1972.
Ahhh, thank you rpstrong. That’s what I needed to know. Apparently there was such a law in effect in the early '70s. I found it on a google search. It’s the same law that called for the use of those big ugly bumpers. See: http://uscode.house.gov/download/pls/15C46.txt It’s a lot of legalese, but apparently it has been repealed a piece at a time. The odometer section was replaced by the 1994 statute now in effect.
Prior to '72 it came under fraud statutes. Granted, they’re state statutes and not federal, but illegal is illegal.
Today it’s illegal under specific federal statute. And it still falls under fraud statutes. And it’s still done. And the problem is still proving it. I cannot remember ever having read about a single prosecution for this…ever. Can any of you?