LATVIA – LITHUANIA – NEWS
In July, Lithuania is introducing changes to its used car trade regulations, requiring a thorough check of the actual mileage of cars. According to Andris Kulbergs, president of the Latvian Automobile Association, problems with changing odometer readings on used cars are also relevant for Latvia.
The odometer, or speedometer, is a device designed to measure a car’s mileage. Fraudsters use various methods to change these readings downwards, making the cars on sale more attractive to buyers. This practice has been widespread in Latvia since the 1990s and continues to this day.
According to Andris Kulbergs, the losses from swiped odometers in Latvia amount to 24 million euros annually and about 35% of imported cars have swiped odometer readings. He notes that this is a very acute problem which requires attention and appropriate measures from the government and industry organisations.
One of the serious consequences of this problem is the overpricing of cars. Research has shown that falsified odometer readings artificially inflate the cost of cars by an average of 22%. This has a negative impact on consumers, who are forced to overpay for cars that do not correspond to their real value.
Despite the fact that it has been forbidden in Latvia since 2017 to understate a car’s mileage and offer odometer-twisting services, the problem still exists. Last year, more than a third of used cars imported into Latvia had falsified odometer readings, highlighting the need for more effective measures to prevent odometer manipulation.