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Mileage fixed on 1 in 3 used cars in Germany

The Local · 10 Apr 2011, 10:47

Published: 10 Apr 2011 10:47 GMT+02:00

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German transport minister Peter Ramsauer told Welt am Sonntag that authorities needed to forge a firm response to the problem.

"The law is clear," he said. "Manipulating an odometer is a crime."

Violators face up to a year in jail, as well as fines – but the transport ministry cited enforcement problems. Once the law against mileage-fixing took effect in 2005, criminals simply started working outside of Germany.

Just across the eastern border in Poland, it costs as little as €100 to have a car's mileage changed.

Police calculated that consumers who buy pre-owned vehicles with falsified mileage overpay by €3,000 on average. Some rental car agencies, private car sellers and taxi companies have also clocked the odometers on vehicles.

The consumer affairs ministry has reportedly been in talks with motor club ADAC – and the former has recommended that car buyers consult experts before purchasing a used vehicle.

The ADAC has called for carmakers to make odometers more tamper-proof – saying it normally takes just 30 seconds to reset the number.

Meanwhile, police are taking steps to address the problem. Last month, an investigative team for the Munich police department known as "Tacho" confiscated more than 300 cars.

The effort was part of a large-scale raid in Germany, Austria, Bulgaria and Switzerland – which saw more than 150 homes and car shops searched.

Story continues below…

Twenty-six people were arrested on suspicion of involvement in mileage-fixing scams. Police said criminal groups buy old leased or rental cars with high mileage abroad, change the odometers reading and then resell the vehicles.

In Dortmund, two men were arrested on suspicion of selling more than 20 vehicles with falsified mileage via the Internet.

The Local/arp

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:11 April 10, 2011 by yhsanjay
The Transport Minister can request his counterparts from neighboring countries for a dialogue so that it becomes illegal to do the job anywhere around Germany.When a car is sold in Germany German laws should apply .The tampering may have been done anywhere but if such a car is sold in Germany the arrests should be made.

They have also started tampering the electronic digital speedos.The criminals are always a generation or more ahead of technology.
10:28 April 11, 2011 by Localreader
I heard that some of the BMW cars also store the mileage readings on the KEY and this can be traced even if the meter is changed, not sure which series. So, such cars can be checked before buying.
11:54 April 12, 2011 by Eastard
Does the yearly vehicle inspection not capture the milage at the time... ? The automakers could help with this if they wanted to... Maybe they don't want to...
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