There are growing concerns within the automotive market that the practice of car clocking – effectively rewinding the mile counter on your car’s dashboard – is returning particularly among private sellers to add value to resales.
In 2010, the Office of Fair Trading published the findings of an investigation into the used car trade. It recommended: “Consideration should be given to the introduction of legislation to outlaw mileage correction services and their advertising.”
Sue Robinson, Director of the National Franchised Dealers Association has experience in the matter, and said: “I can remember going back 10 to 15 years and lobbying the government about this very issue. Still nothing has happened.
“I think one of the problems is the word ‘clocking’ is seen as a bit of a joke. When I’ve been talking to MPs about it and talk about fraud – because that’s what it is – you get a very different response.”
Philip Nothard, consumer specialist at CAP, said the issue was wider than a simple alteration: “When a car has had its mileage altered, people will put a false number plate on it and take it to a non-franchised garage to have its oil and filters changed. Then when it goes back to the franchised garage, the dealer doesn’t pick up on it.
“The trade is losing out as much as customers are but the government doesn’t seem that bothered, because it’s dealers making a noise about it and not consumers.”
Neil Hodson, deputy managing director for HPI said: “By changing the mileage, a clocker will actually be causing conflicts within the car’s electronics and interfering with the normal routines for servicing and repair. In addition, the manufacturer’s warranty is likely to be void if the car is discovered to have been clocked.”
Business Minister Anna Soubry also said this would be taken very seriously and every effort would be made to put an end to the practice: “If people are evading quite clear laws and regulations that we as society said they should not, that needs sorting out. I will look into this, along with my colleagues at the Ministry of Justice and in the Crown Prosecution Service, and we will stop it.”