If person A is a criminal man and changes the odometer of a used car then sells it to person B, then after some time person B who doesn't know about the truth advertises the car with the fake mileage and sells it to person C, if person C understands the truth can s/he sue against person B or person A?

Also who must pay the person C's lost? Considering the real car value with 50K miles(the fake mileage) is $25K but the value with 100K(real mileage) is 15K. Who should pay this $10k loss to the person C?

PS: Consider the person B has got the car with the same but fake mileage in the odometer and title and represents the car with this mileage.

For example, the real mileage is 100K. Person A who is the first owner, changes it to 50K and writes the fake mileage in title and sells to person B. Then person B after a short time wants to sell it without the knowledge of real mileage. So he advertises the car with the fake mileage he bought recently and sells it to person C.

Is person B still guilty of misrepresenting?

  • I added a PS part.
    – GoodMan
    Oct 25 '21 at 15:39
  • "So he advertises the car with the fake mileage" Do you mean that the fake mileage is actually stated in the advertisement?
    – Nemo
    Oct 25 '21 at 16:49
  • @Nemo: Consider you buy a car with 50K on odometer. Also seller writes 50K in title. Also DMV will send you the new title also with 50K actual mileage. How can you guess this mileage is wrong? So you advertise it on marketplace or Craiglist and sell it to other person with this mileage. But the new buyer calls you and says I found that the car mileage is not correct! Get it back!
    – GoodMan
    Oct 25 '21 at 17:01
  • @Goodman Can you explain what a car title is? This many be specific to California and/or the USA generally.
    – Nemo
    Oct 25 '21 at 17:10
  • @Nemo: I mean California pink slip by car title.
    – GoodMan
    Oct 25 '21 at 17:24


Person B is guilty of innocent misrepresentation.

If C can prove that they entered into the contract in reliance on the misrepresentation can either:

  1. rescind the contract: return the car and get their money back, or
  2. Seek damages, if the facts are as you describe, they would be entitled to $10,000.
  • Whether the B is guilty of misrepresentation would depend on what they said (or implied). For example. If they were asked "Is this mileage correct? and they reply "Yes" then that is a misrepresentation. If they reply No then no misrepresentation. If they say "Yes, as far as I know" then it is more complicated but that is probably a representation that they know of no reason to doubt the accuracy of the mileage shown on the odometer (which may or may not be a misrepresentation depending what they actually know and, possibly, if they are a regular dealer in cars, what they should have surmised).
    – Nemo
    Oct 25 '21 at 9:07
  • 1
    @Nemo: The California title transfer form requires the seller to sign a statement saying "The odometer now reads ____ and to the best of my knowledge reflects the actual mileage unless one of the following is checked. [...] I certify (or declare) under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing is true and correct." wheelzy.com/how-to-sign-your-title/california/ca So the seller must have made an explicit representation to that effect. Oct 25 '21 at 12:43
  • @Nemo, in the USA, every sale of a vehicle includes a statement about the odometer. It isn't possible here to sell a car without saying "yes" as part of the sale.
    – Tiger Guy
    Oct 25 '21 at 12:43
  • @NateEldredge If that statement ("to the best of my knowledge...") is the only statement made by B then whether that is a misrepresentation depends on what B's knowledge was at the time of sale - what B knew or should have surmised about the mileage on the odometer.
    – Nemo
    Oct 25 '21 at 12:48
  • @TigerGuy Does the form just say Yes or does it say "Yes to the best of my knowledge"
    – Nemo
    Oct 25 '21 at 14:02

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