The NSW government through their police department issued a press release saying that with the boom in second-hand car sales, due to supply difficulties with new cars, there has been a fourfold increase in fines issued for odometer fraud.
The numbers are not big – they have risen from 22 to 76 in a year which by our calculation is nearer to a three-fold increase rather than a four-fold jump as claimed, but any fraud is a bad thing.
Modern digital odometer systems are very hard, if not impossible to tamper with
It is more likely that a fraud could be committed when a system is replaced.
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Car companies typically have very strong protocols when issuing a replacement part. Kia for example will not send out a new part unless you submit documentation on the existing odometer reading and then they code in the kilometre reading before they send it out
Any registered sales organisation such as a dealer or general car yard is under close scrutiny
Private sales are harder to police and a longer-term trend has been the increasing dominance of private sales because of the ease of advertising through e-Bay, gumtree or even specific motoring sites (there is nothing wrong with this as a process but it is more difficult to try and identify if a seller is being fraudulent)
On the other hand, many people (particularly adventurers including grey nomads) are very proud of the distance they have travelled
If you are looking to buy a second-hand car, the Fair Trading department in each state should have a detailed checklist of what you should do to minimise the chance of being cheated.
The progression toward electric vehicles, leading to a decline in fuel revenue, and the professional support for a road user charge will lead to new ways of recording the distance (and location) a vehicle travels.
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