I surprised my family with a trip to Hawaii. They didn’t have a clue how I paid for it. But they thought I was the best dad in the world.
While we were away, I bought a car on eBay. It had over 350,000 km on it. No one will want to buy this piece of junk, I thought.
Unless. I could just lower the mileage on it a little bit. And it won’t hurt anybody, right?
One problem – I had no idea how to change an odometer*. But as it turns out, it’s much easier than I’d expected.
With an odometer tool, I changed the reading to 164,500 km. Still a lot, but less than half the real clicks.
My ad: “Minivan – old but in great condition! Only 164,500kms – it sat in my garage for the last 5 years. Must sell. If you’re looking for an older, but reliable and safe vehicle, call my cell and we’ll negotiate.”
Looking back, I realized I’d knocked almost 200,000 km off the vehicle.
But I shined it up and put some newer used tires on it so they wouldn’t give away its true condition.
Will this get me in trouble? I wondered. I wasn’t doing anything wrong, really – this just gives me a chance to make some more money on the vehicle.
I got a phone call from a young single mom who could only afford an older vehicle. We decided to meet at her son’s school.
As I was showing her the car, I noticed the carpet, the door handles and the pedals kind of gave away its true condition. Hopefully she’s too naïve to notice, I thought.
Forty minutes later, our exchange was complete. I probably made an extra $2,000 because of the odometer!! If I’d only done this to all the other cars I sold!
Suddenly, my mind began processing the implications.
That minivan was pretty much at the end of its life. That young mom is expecting the vehicle to last her for a few more years.
At best, I see it lasting one more.
Parts will start failing, calling for expensive repairs. I’m certain she doesn’t have the money for that.
All I’m hoping is that it doesn’t break down on the highway.
Maybe there was a reason I never did it before. Maybe, just maybe, I had a conscience up until now.
Check it out online: WatchOutForWalt.com
The Vehicle Sales Authority of BC, CarProof Vehicle History Reports and ICBC are combining forces to help keep car buyers safe. Follow our series on Walt the Curber to learn how much you risk when you buy a used vehicle without proof of its history or condition. The price of buying a car from a curber can turn out to be much higher if you have nowhere to turn. Learn what you can do to protect yourself.