Inspectors uncover numerous cases of odometer fraud and other serious transgressions

Illustrative photo: Ondřej Jánoška

Buying used cars in the Czech Republic has long been considered a risky proposition and sadly checks by the Czech Trade Inspection Authority (CITA), a government bureau under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, has found the situation has not much improved.

Illustrative photo: Ondřej Jánoška
From May to October last year the office’s inspectors checked conditions at 65 used-car car dealers with very poor findings: in 57 percent of cases misleading practices were uncovered, including tampering with vehicles’ tachometers to make it appear they had been used less often. They also found numerous cases in which sellers had failed to mention a vehicle has been involved in a crash, according to Czech Radio.

Everyone has heard the lie about the car only driven by a little old lady on Sundays but tampering with odometers or failing to disclose serious information about a car’s history is something else entirely. CITA spokesman Jiří Fröhlich confirmed for that the situation last year hardly improved since 2016: the bureau zeroed in on some 27 vehicles which were then assessed by expert witnesses: in nine cases, tachometers read a lower number of kilometres than had actually been driven. Only on Sundays, indeed!

One vehicle on sale, highlighted by the inspection authority, was a Volkswagen Passat 1.9 TDi, where the odometer read 210,616 kilometres driver; an assessment by an expert, however, put the real mileage at 276,135 kilometres in September 2015. The kilometre reading was reduced by at least 65, 519 km. Another example was an Škoda Octavia 1.8 combi 4x4 where the odometer was off by more than 50,000 kilometres.

Not reassuring for those looking for a vehicle on the used-car market. Inspectors, Czech Radio reported, found in the case of eight cars that the vehicles had been repaired after traffic accidents. This information, however, was reportedly completely withheld by the sellers. As a result of all of the findings, 24 auto bazaars of received fines amounting to a total of 860, 000 crowns.