horwich farrelly

‘Turning back the clock’ – The surge in false mileage

September, 16, 2019

Highlighting an apparent surge in the number of cars on the road with false mileage due to ‘clocking’, a series of recent news articles state that as many as two million vehicles could be affected – possibly even more. Such levels have been made possible by the increased availability of ‘clocking’ devices.

It may come as a surprise to know that it is not actually illegal to alter the mileage on a vehicle – fraud is only committed if it is then sold without disclosing its true mileage to potential buyers. For unscrupulous car dealers who may be persuaded to commit such an offence, this amounts to providing a false trade description or a failure to comply with the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. For a clear breach of the law, it is treated as a criminal offence.

An EU law to ban companies providing mileage correction services was supposed to have come into effect in May 2018 but it was delayed. Ironically, in a post-Brexit world, this is arguably one EU law that the UK would wish to retain.

Clocking creates two particular problems:

  • First, it means that a large number of owners are driving cars which are much older than they believe to be the case – and thus more dangerous.
  • Secondly, the sale value of a clocked car is artificially inflated and this has serious implications for insurers.

It might be assumed that the owner of a vehicle, with no immediate intention of selling it, would have no incentive to reduce its mileage. However, say the vehicle is involved in an accident and thus becomes a constructive loss. The owner could ‘clock’ the vehicle before the insurer’s trusted engineer inspects it to record the mileage. As the mileage will invariably affect the valuation of the written-off vehicle – the lower the mileage the more it will be worth – the owner will at some stage approve the engineer’s report and thereby affirm that the recorded mileage is correct. This is fraud.

How often are scams of this nature detected?

One of the features of Horwich Farrelly’s Car Wash system is that it can quickly and easily reveal this type of activity. By cross-referencing stored information about dates, mileage, change of ownership, accidents and claims, Car Wash has already uncovered countless incidents of clocking and, where this is highlighted, it can also quickly and easily reveal who was most likely responsible.

For further information about how Car Wash can be used routinely to screen vehicle valuations, please contact Richard Preston: Richard.preston@h-f.co.uk Tel: 0161 413 1742

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