One Arlington Building. 1000+ Car Wholesalers. A Concern that May Prompt Law ChangeSafety Info December 19, 2023 0 COMMENTS
A company called US Dealer Licensing operates in a building at 101 Skyline Drive #1 in Arlington. The building is supposed to house over 1000 wholesale car dealers. However, inside a portion of the building, several cubicles lined up with chairs and desks and an insulated sealing. However, not even a single person is in sight. What’s more fascinating is that as suspicious as this may look, it is legal according to the state of Wisconsin. So, what exactly is the issue? To understand this, let’s travel back a few years.
In the last 4 years, DOT has investigated that car wholesalers have rolled back over 155 million miles on odometers, leading to millions of dollars of consumer fraud. Usually, when people buy a second-hand car, they must know the basic details such as what conditions the car is in, if it has any damages, how many miles it has been driven, and more. However, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation says that it is not possible to gauge a car that way. This is because several wholesalers have rolled back miles which gives us an incorrect picture of the car to consumers.
One of the main reasons why this happens is when several wholesale dealers operate out of single buildings, even if they operate out of the state of Wisconsin. One such building was the one where US Dealer Licensing operated out of. Records showcase that 450 of the 1000 wholesalers have had their licenses revoked due to odometer fraud and unlicensed retailing.
Although US Dealer Licensing has not committed license fraud by giving out the licenses to wholesalers, this kind of distribution may lead to large-scale fraudulent activities. Wisconsin State Representative Sue Conley of Janesville says, “It’s an address they can use on an application, but it’s not actually a place of business. They aren’t actually staffing these offices with folks on the wholesale side.” She further added that it doesn’t make any sense and wants to change the state law.
Skyline Drive is also notorious for odometer fraud, and several licenses have already been revoked. Due to this ongoing issue, there are weekly in-person checks conducted, which cost taxpayers over $60,000 last year in time and resources.
Since 2019, the DOT has unraveled that 155,332,135 miles have been rolled back on the odometers. This distance is enough to drive around the planet 6238 times. This has resulted in an estimated $9.3 million worth of consumer damages.
This problem of fraudulent activities has been prevalent across 15 states, and the different states have been tackling it in their own way. In 2015, Indiana put a halt to wholesaler licenses being issued and distributed, and in 2017, Washington did away with theirs. However, the problem still prevails in Wisconsin and has persisted since 2018. Until then, the state had issued only 21 wholesaler licenses. But in the years to come, it spiked drastically, and in 2022, the state had issued 1153 car wholesaler licenses.
Sue Conley wants to put a hard stop to this and is co-sponsoring the bipartisan bill in the state Assembly and Senate to redefine what constitutes a wholesale office. She said, “These companies are perpetrating fraud against consumers. And any time we find that in our state, we have to do everything we can to prevent it from continuing.” Furthermore, Conley added, “And it really is to try to tamp down wholesalers who are not being above board.”
If the bill passes and becomes a law, only one wholesaler could have an office under one roof. People will not be able to rent offices or cubicles by the hour or day. If you have had a second-hand car and there has been some form of malfunction, contact a Burlington car accident lawyer and ensure you’ve not been conned by a fraudulent wholesaler.