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Why Car Buyers Should Never Sign a Title Before the Seller

by | Dec 11, 2023 | Dealer Fraud |

Car dealerships have customers sign titles all the time, but often don’t follow the rules for titles. The federal Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act, generally known as the Odometer Act, has very specific procedures for completing a title.

Procedures for Title Signing

Under the Odometer Act, when a vehicle is sold, the seller must write the current mileage on the assignment portion of the title unless the vehicle is exempt from mileage disclosure. The seller must sign to certify that the mileage is accurate to the best of its knowledge, that the mileage exceeds the mechanical limits (for older vehicles with analog odometers), or that there is an odometer discrepancy. The title is signed by the purchaser only after all of this required information has been filled in and signed by the seller.

Dealers Ignore Title Requirements

Unfortunately, some car dealers have customers to sign the title before any of the required information is filled in. When this happens, the dealer can mark the title not actual miles or a higher mileage than what was disclosed. A higher mileage or not actual miles vehicle is worth far less than a vehicle with a lower or accurate odometer.

How to Prevent Odometer Fraud

Most vehicles are financed, so the title is sent to the lender and not the purchaser. When the title goes to the lender, it can be years until the purchaser sees the incorrect mileage or odometer status. If a dealer wants you to sign a title before the

odometer information is filled in and signed by the seller, your best course of action is to walk away. If you can’t, take a picture after you sign the title so that the dealer can’t add an incorrect mileage or mileage status later.

If you are concerned that a dealer may have not been truthful in an odometer disclosure in a vehicle that you purchased, contact Roseman Law Firm.

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