Car clocking fraud on rise again

There could be as many as 486,000 vehicles with a false mileage on the road in the UK, according to vehicle history experts, HPI.

The act of “clocking” a vehicle has been around for a number of years and is something that was made easier with the arrival of digital odometers. In the past, the mis-aligned digits and exposed screw heads meant that a clocked car was relatively easy to spot.

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But modern cars are able to hide their age much better than in the past and there are many “mileage correction firms” willing to turn the clock back on any given car. Which means extra revenue for the seller and potential trouble for the unsuspecting buyer.

Following a decline in the number of mileage-adjusted cars, HPI now says that 2013 saw an increase in the number of vehicles on the road with a mileage discrepancy. Over 6.8 million used cars were sold in 2013, with as many as 7.15% showing a false mileage.

Senior consumer services manager for HPI, Shane Teskey:

“These are really shocking statistics and represent a worrying trend. Dodgy sellers will take advantage of any angle they can when offloading a car and clocking is one of the easiest ways they can make a fatter profit.

“In fact, research we conducted with CAP last year found that popular models such as the VW Golf can double in value if they have 60,000 miles wound down.”

Many buyers view the HPI check as something that guards against buying a stolen or written-off vehicle. But HPI also checks against the National Mileage Register, which contains over 160 million mileage readings.

So if you’re buying a used car, consider getting an HPI check done. And if you happen to be selling, don’t forget the mark the car’s mileage down on the registration document. That way, you’re helping to guard against future fraud.

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