Man at odds with dealership over odometer mishap

A 30,000 mile odometer discrepancy put a bay area man at odds with his dealership.

February 2, 2011 7:18:41 PM PST
A Bay Area car dealer refused to honor a repair warranty because it says the driver had surpassed the maximum number of miles allowed. There's nothing unusual about that, until a mysterious spike in the odometer reading.

Pastor Derrick Lomax bought a 2006 Nissan Sentra five years ago, and it's been sitting at Serramonte Nissan for two months.

"It's undriveable, what can I do. What can I do?," he said.

Back in November, the Lomax brought the car in for an oil change. The service invoice from the dealership indicates the car was returned to him with just over 57,000 miles on it. Nine days later, he took the car back to Serramonte Nissan for repairs under his warranty. But the dealership told him his warranty had been voided and that's because his warranty expires after 75,000 miles and his odometer now showed he had driven 87,000 miles.

The real issue is Serramonte Nissan stating I drove the car 30,000 miles within nine days and they agree that's impossible to happen," Lomax said.

Serramonte Nissan now says its service people originally misread the odometer, mistaking the eight in 87,000 for a five.

"The dealer just doesn't have a good explanation. After all the dealer wrote down the odometer reading as 57,000 a week before the dealer says 'oh, it's 87,000,'" consumer attorney Mark Anderson said.

7 On your Side contacted Nissan corporate and its standing behind its dealership. In an e-mail, it wrote, "it's impossible for the odometer to jump mileage the way the customer alleges it has." it's offered to cover $2,100 for a new transmission, but Lomax would still be responsible for a $2,600 bill for labor. Lomax has rejected the offer.

"They gave me the invoice that read 57,000 miles. That is the correct mileage at that time. Something went awry to cause the odometer to read 87,000 miles nine days later," Lomax said.

He points to past odometer readings done by the dealership which show the car has been consistently driven about 10,000 miles a year since he got it. Right before this story was supposed to air, Serramonte Nissan sweetened the corporate offer to pay for a new transmission and the dealership would now cover the labor cost for putting in that transmission, and only bill Lomax for its labor costs for any additional repairs.

"I'm not going to split hairs at this point. I thank 7 On Your Side for what they've done for me. I'm thankful," Lomax said.

Lomax also expressed thanks to Serramonte Nissan and the Bureau of Automotive Repairs for advising him and referring him to 7 On Your Side.