Motorists are warned against rogue traders who falsify vehicle mileage to drive up selling prices.
A car service center in the United Arab Emirates has shown how easy it can be to recall an odometer, prompting experts to sound the alarm to potential customers looking for a bargain.
A popular video on social media from the Berlin Auto Service Center in Al Ain shows how a Mercedes’ odometer reading dropped from 114,000 kilometers to 38,000 km.
In a recent incident, a buyer from Abu Dhabi discovered that the Dh115,000 4×4 she had acquired second-hand had done 300,000 km, not the advertised 65,000 km.
She sued the seller and a court ruled the contract could be torn up and a full refund awarded.
The victory was a blow to consumer rights, but a legal expert said shoppers must act quickly to see justice done.
“The UAE Civil Transactions Law protects customers from cheating,” said Mohammed Najeeb. The National.
“If the car buyer discovers a hidden defect in the car, such as the odometer rolling back, they have the right to file a complaint within six months of purchase.
“Car buyers have the right to cancel the contract and get a refund,” Mr Najeeb said.
“Rollback is a type of cheating by the seller to cover up defects. The buyer should have proof of odometer restoration presented to the court, such as a certificate from the car manufacturer.
Section 555 of the law states that if the buyer provides a warranty for more than six months, the seller can still sue.
Motorists urged to be vigilant
Ali Hassan, of second-hand car dealership Souq Al Haraj in Sharjah, said mileage greatly affects a vehicle’s value and can help indicate how long it will be roadworthy.
“As most cars have digital odometers, it can be overridden by removing the circuit board from the vehicle to change the reading or by using overriding equipment that hooks directly to the electronics,” Ms. Hassan.
He advised buyers to carry out thorough checks, including service history, before agreeing to buy.
“There is a complete check-up for the car at verified centers in the UAE. I always ask my customers to have the car tested before buying it from my store. Buying a car with hidden defects is pay more than the vehicle is worth,” he said.
Dubizzle, the online classifieds site, advises potential buyers to take steps to protect themselves against fraud.
“Check Roads and Transport Authority records to see if the car has suddenly lost miles between registrations, particularly if the mileage is low compared to the wear and tear on the car, such as the interior and steering wheel,” said Dubizzle’s Christopher Milbourne. .
“To avoid fraudulent behavior, we recommend always opting for a pre-inspection report.
“At Dubizzle Car Center in Al Quoz, we offer a very detailed inspection service by our experts which provides you with a comprehensive report highlighting the issues for complete transparency and peace of mind.”
Tips for not getting caught
- Buy a used car from a reliable source;
- Have the car independently inspected by an authorized garage;
- Ask for a detailed service history as odometer readings will be recorded at the time of service;
- Check the brake and accelerator pedals for wear, as excessive pedal wear indicates that the mileage may be higher than displayed.
Updated: October 05, 2022, 07:19