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PROBLEM SOLVERS: Conflicting stats spotlight mileage mishap for truck owner

Posted at 10:56 PM, Jun 25, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-25 22:56:31-04

COOPERSVILLE, Mich.-- A  Coopersville man bought a truck he thought was reliable from a local dealership, but said when he tried to upgrade to a bigger truck a few months later no one would buy it off him.

“They pulled up the CARFAX and that’s when I found out the car is not what they say it is,” said Josh Eisen.

It was all because of what the CARFAX showed that somewhere along the way the car had its miles turned back by 90,000 miles. That raises a red flag to car dealerships for mileage fraud.

When Josh Eisen bought the 2002 Denali in December the mileage on the AutoCheck the dealership ran was 137,000 miles, but according to the CARFAX  it had 167,000 miles on it 4 years earlier in 2011.

The confusing mileage trail on the 2002 black Denali truck is the reason why it sits unused in Josh Eisen's yard.

“I started my own company about four and a half, five months ago and I needed a new truck to haul trailers. I am a small town construction guy and I build houses for a living,” said Eisen.

Eisen is a single father to three girls, and depended on this nearly $12,000  truck he bought from Lakeland Car Company to support his family.

“I've had it up until a month a half or two months ago and I was hauling my trailer and it just couldn't get the job done,” he said.

After purchasing the truck in December, he decided he needed a bigger truck 5 months later. He went to a different dealership to trade it in for the truck he needed, but they wouldn't touch it.

“They pulled the CARFAX and that’s when I found out the car is not what they said it was.”

The car facts showed somewhere along the way it lost miles

“The problem is 167,000 miles in 2011 and I purchased the truck in and it had 137,000 miles on it.”

The CARFAX also flagged a prior crash involving the truck. Lakeland Car Company ran something called an AutoCheck. It only showed the odometer changes in a few places and didn’t mention any car accident.

“Apparently they drove it backwards for 30,000 miles to make it less mileage,” said Eisen.

Lakeland Car Company declined to go on camera, saying AutoCheck is a reliable source for them, and they are willing to work with Eisen if CARFAX proves their information is correct.

“Lakeland Car Company said CARFAX makes mistakes all the time. Lakeland told me AutoCheck is good for buy back guarantee and I said ‘ok well buy it back.’”

Fox 17 news talked to CARFAX Thursday night on the phone. They said they stand by their information. CARFAX said they pioneered vehicle reports in 1984 and have 14.5 billion vehicle records in their database from 92,000 sources across North America.

“I would guess it has at least 100.000 more miles on it that what the odometer says,” said Eisen.

The Michigan Department of Motor Vehicles said there are cases where people commit mileage fraud and an odometer is only recorded when the vehicle is sold between parties. There's no other log overseeing mileage on a vehicle. CARFAX said according to their data there's 200,000 cases per year of mileage fraud and estimate there's 1 million cars on the road right now that have mileage fraud and the drivers don’t know.

“You wronged me why wouldn't you  make it right by buying back the vehicle you sold me fraudulently? It’s just a lawn ornament right now. I absolutely believe that everybody makes mistakes. I think his mistake is not doing more research on the car he sold me.”

We reached out to Lakeland Car Company after we heard from CARFAX Thursday night. Fox 17 News has not heard back if they will be buying the car back from Eisen as of news time. They said they use AutoCheck because it’s a little cheaper to run by about $4. They said they have never had a mileage fraud problem before this.

CARFAX said  it's a lot easier for people to commit fraud on the odometer these days because there's machines that can do it to a digital odometer rather than having to crack the dash board open and do it manually for an analog.