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Clocked nearly new cars a danger for dealers

4th April 2011 Print

As the BBC puts the spotlight on the rising threat of car clocking, HPI is warning dealers that the reality is far greater than reported.  The Vehicle & Operator Services Agency (VOSA) has revealed that 1 in 39 cars that undergo an MOT have had their mileage altered - or clocked - but data from vehicle information experts HPI show that the figure is actually closer to 1 in 17.

In 2005 MOT data was computerised by VOSA, but it does not offer a comprehensive database as it does not include information on MOTs completed on vehicles prior to 2005, or on vehicles less than 3 years old.  This suggests that VOSA’s findings are exposing just the tip of the iceberg.

Daniel Burgess, Automotive Director for HPI explains: “Unwittingly part exchanging a clocked car is a very real risk for retailers.  With the tools to adjust mileages so easily available on the web, consumers are just as likely to be the clocking cars as unscrupulous traders, doubling the danger to dealers.  Not surprisingly, the Office of Fair Trading has clearly stated that mileage disclaimers are not enough and to meet due diligence you must prove you have done everything in your power to validate a car’s mileage.

“However, whilst it is fair to assume that older cars that have been around the block are most likely to have their mileage reading altered, approximately half of all cars we check are revealed as having a mileage discrepancy within the first 3 years of their life.  This is why dealers should be protecting both their reputation and bottom line by using our National Mileage Register.  Not only does the National Mileage Register contain over 130 million mileage records covering vehicles of all ages, dating as far back as 1992, it crucially holds the mileage readings of vehicles less than 3 years of age.  These have sourced from the likes of manufacturers, as part of their warranty offering, and leasing companies’ disposal declarations.”

If a vehicle has had more than one keeper or if a discrepancy has been shown, HPI’s mileage investigation team will exhaust all avenues to correctly validate the vehicle’s mileage, giving dealers absolute confidence in the quality and status of its stock.  Concludes Daniel Burgess:  “It is alarming that despite the tools available to dealers to protect themselves against the risks, our latest figures report that clocking is the rise.  A sound mileage verification strategy which is backed by a thorough investigations process is not only best practice but can provide them with a sound legal defence.”

With access to more vehicle information than any other service provider, HPI also confirms the vehicle description, whether it is currently recorded as stolen, been written-off by an insurance company or is subject to outstanding finance, providing peace of mind to dealerships and their customers.