Action Report: Odometer roll back investigation

This Carfax Report shows the vehicle had 195,000 miles in 2011. But when we saw the car two and a half years later, the odometer read 138,195 miles.
This Carfax Report shows the vehicle had 195,000 miles in 2011. But when we saw the car two and a half years later, the odometer read 138,195 miles.

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - What should someone do if they find out they bought a used car and it actually had more miles on it than what the odometer indicated? That's what a Picayune man is trying to find out.

Sid Johnson said he went car shopping for his daughter who was about to turn 16. He searched online, chose an Infinity at Oscars Used Cars in Gulfport, and met with Oscar Baine.

"I went and took it for a test drive. It rode good and I ended up buying the car," stated Johnson.

After 30 days, Johnson said the Infinity started having major problems. He had the car inspected by a repair shop.

"First thing we did was pull the radiator cap and noticed that the coolant in it was blue," Paul McCranie said.

That raised a red flag because normally the coolant should be green or a reddish tint.

"I've run into this before and normally when it's blue it has this product, Blue Devil, in it. And what it does, it temporarily seals up head gaskets. And it's only a temporary fix; it says that on the bottle," said McCranie.

He said the Infinity had a blown head gasket that forced Johnson to shell out more money.

"I spoke to Oscar Baine and he said he wasn't going to do nothing about it. It's a $3,200 car and I spent $2,000 getting it fixed. It's just heart breaking," stated Johnson.

The mechanic said he also questioned the mileage. Johnson didn't do a Carfax to research the car's history before buying it. But he did after the mechanic's questions and found the miles didn't add up.

"I pulled the Carfax and in 2011 it shows 195,000 miles," Johnson said.

But on this day, about two and half years later, the odometer read 138,195 miles.

A former salesman and two mechanics who had worked at Oscar's Used Cars said they quit when they learned what was happening back inside the garage.

"They had me changing clusters," stated Duke Elkins. "They had people pulling up and changing mileage on the vehicles. They fix the cars just enough to get them going for 30 days. They've got 30 day warranties."

I tried to get answers from Oscar Baine and met up with him on the lot. I told him a mechanic who once worked for him said Oscars rolls back the odometers.

Oscar said, "I have nothing to say to you, sir."

I repeated, "The mechanic said Oscars rolls back the odometer."

Oscar said, "I have nothing to say to you, sir. I'd like you to leave the premise. I'm asking you to leave, please."

I asked him the same question and he responded, "Will you please leave?"

I told him I was leaving and he said, "Thank you."

I contacted the FBI and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations. They say they don't investigate odometer rollbacks because it's a misdemeanor. But the Mississippi State Attorney General's Office does.

Title 63 from the Mississippi Code of 1972 on Equipment and Identification Tampering with or Alteration of Odometers states: "It shall be unlawful for any person to disconnect, turn back, reset or alter the odometer of any motor vehicle with the intent to reduce the number of miles indicated thereon."

Sid Johnson has filed a complaint with state attorney general's office.

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood told WLOX, "If you think you are a victim of rolling back the odometer, call the Consumer Protection Division 1-800-281-4418."

Hood said his office will work with local prosecutors and law enforcement officers to investigate the complaint. Anyone found guilty of rolling back the odometer could spend up to six months behind bars and pay up to a $500 fine.

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