Over the years the car trade has unfortunately been blighted by bad practices and fraudulent actions, one of the worst being clocked cars, which leads to nothing but misery for drivers and distrust and contempt cast upon all car sellers.
A car is “clocked” if someone interferes with the odometer (the mileage reading) and while it’s not actually illegal to do that, if you then sell the car and don’t tell the new owner that the mileage is inaccurate, it’s a very serious offence.
The rotten apple effect has taken years to try and shake off and honest car dealers, in conjunction with the authorities, have worked tirelessly to ensure incidents are immediately highlighted through car data checks and thorough inspections.
In the car trade we know how to spot the tell tale signs of whether a car’s mileage is genuine, the wear on the steering wheel and pedals, excessive wear on seats and carpets or the general feel of the car. This isn’t really rocket science. If a car looks tired, shabby and well used but the odometer is only displaying average mileage then it is likely that the vehicle’s history is questionable.
Recently there have been cases where more clocked cars have been discovered and this is because VOSA The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency have introduced a car checking system through their website which allows people to track the validity of the MOT history on any given car.
It is worth remembering that there are still many stolen or counterfeit MOT certificates in circulation but by entering the details of the current MOT or v5c document number you can now check the history of a car and if the mileage does not tally with the mileage history on the MOT you could have a problem on your hands and therefore you will need to contact Trading Standards (Consumer Direct) immediately.
Last year, there were 72,000 official complaints to Consumer Direct about issues with second hand cars and a lot of these complaints related to clocked cars. With the difference in price on lower mileages cars often running into the thousands it’s clear why the unscrupulous engage in this practice and the OFT estimates that car clocking costs consumers £580 million a year.