Car Buyer in Texas Sees Success in Odometer Tampering Case

Does the slogan "Don't Mess with Texas" apply to used vehicle purchases as well?

In a story first reported by the Houston Chronicle, First Choice Auto, a Houston-based auto dealership, must now cover Garrett Gable's legal fees of $76,000, in addition to $52,500 in damages due to deceptive sales and odometer tampering.

In 2013, Mr. Gable of small-town Painesville, Ohio flew to Houston to buy a supposed "one-owner" 2007 Ram pickup.

Advertised with only 83,907 miles and with no previous accidents, he discovered the tires were bad, upon first inspection. At that point, the dealer agreed to comp him $900 to replace them so that he could return to Ohio.

Three years later, Gable took the Ram to an Ohio dealership for a trade-in evaluation. A shocking Carfax report revealed three previous owners, a history of accidents, and a reported 170K+ miles, not 83,907 miles, accumulated by 2010.

As it turns out, the dealer bought the truck at an online auction with no title, then obtained a title which showed incorrect mileage while covering the cost of repairs. No word if other vehicles sold by First Choice Auto suffered the same fate.