WEST SENECA, N.Y. (WIVB) – More owners are selling their cars on websites like Craigslist. But how do you really know how many miles are under the hood?
News 4 received an email from a viewer concerned because a car he sold on Craigslist with 200,000 miles was re-listed the next day claiming to have half that many miles.
Martin Jarmuz used Craigslist to sell his 21-year-old Toyota Camry. On the description, he wrote despite having 200,000 miles, it rides smooth and quiet. He sold it quickly for $900 cash and was happy.
“I was. I had it listed for $1,200, so I thought $900 was reasonable,” Jarmuz said.
Until he found out from perfect strangers that the man who bought the 1992 Camry re-listed it the next day with a few notable differences.
A stranger on a voicemail told Jarmuz, “I want to give you a heads-up. He’s saying it has an original 79,000 miles on it and he wants $1,800 for it.”
Jarmuz says he sold the Camry to Chris Sciolino from West Seneca.
“Yep that’s him,” Jarmuz said.
Sciolino admits he posted the ad on Craigslist, claiming the car has just 79,000 miles. News 4 reporter Lou Raguse and a photojournalist went undercover to check it out.
Right away, Sciolino had a confession.
“I just had someone e-mail me. He asked for the VIN number. I gave it to him no problem. He said there are more miles on it. Something was changed,” Sciolino said. “I wish I had an accurate number. The best I can say is “mileage unknown” I guess.”
Sciolino told News 4 he was just selling it for a friend as a favor.
But on his Facebook profile, Sciolino writes about selling used cars. He has a photo of the Camry and two other vehicles with the caption: “Can me and my friends turn the driveway into a used car lot?”
Jarmuz recognized the Camry as soon as he looked at the photo.
While undercover, Raguse asked Sciolino, “Cash price, what do you got to have?”
“Um, I’d be pretty cool with $1,500,” Sciolino responded.
“Do you think I can just look at the title before I go get cash? I just want to make sure I’m not doing something stupid,” Raguse asked.
“I need to go home and find it. It’s floating around at my house,” Sciolino responded.
While retrieving the title, Sciolino got cold feet. He called back saying the car was no longer for sale.
Raguse responded, “This is Lou Raguse actually, from News 4. We ran a CARFAX on it so we know it has 200,000 miles on it, so we’d appreciate it if you came back and told us what’s going on.”
Sciolino answered, “There’s nothing I can do man. That’s how I bought the car.”
The original Craigslist ad posted by Jarmuz was clear the car had more than 200,000 miles on it. Raguse observed the odometer reading 79,000.
According the U.S. Attorney’s Office, tampering with an odometer is a federal crime. And if convicted, whoever rolls it back could spend up to three years in prison.