Car mileage 'clocking' is as big a problem as ever.
Jeremy Clarkson back in 1990 (with a bit more hair)
Can you believe it's been 19 years since this clip first aired on Top Gear, and despite all the advances that have been made in modern motor cars 'clocking' is as big a problem as ever?
At Motorcheck we’ve been helping buyers avoid clocked vehicles for over three years, and were thrilled when the production team behind ‘Buyer Beware’ (RTE1′s consumer watchdog) approached us to appear on a forthcoming show. The show exposes the rising trend of ‘car clocking’, and Motorcheck was asked to take part in the programme.
When we started analysing the data even we were amazed at the increase in clocking over the past 6 months, and the lengths some sellers will go to in an effort to squeeze a few more euros out of a potential buyer. Take a look at the graph below. It shows the increase in incidents of clocking that Motorcheck has identified since March of this year.
The only sure fire way to combat clocking is to build a reliable database that takes regular odometer readings from independent sources. We started this three years ago with the Irish National Mileage Register (INMR) and have over 1.2 million audited records now on file, but there’s plenty more to be done. We’re in the process of lobbying the Department of Transport for access to the NCT mileage database. This would add another 6 – 8 million readings, but cars under four years would still be at risk. Our fleet partners continue to lend their support, and we’re in discussions with a number of private sources that can also help. But there are many steps you can take to protect yourself against clocking.
‘Clocking’ is the term used to describe the action of manipulating the odometer reading on a second hand car in an effort to misrepresent it’s past history. The odometer is the instrument that records a vehicles mileage, and clocking involves the intentional understatement of a vehicle’s mileage.
The physical action of clocking a car is not in itself illegal. However under the Consumer Protection Act 2007 misleading commercial practices are considered to be an offence. This means that any business knowingly selling or offering for sale a used motor vehicles with altered or reduced odometer readings is breaking the law. Unfortunately the Consumer Protection Act does not apply to transactions between private individuals which leaves you unprotected if you buy a clocked car from a private seller.
The best way to stamp out clocking is to maintain an accurate database of odometer readings for all motor vehicles. Motorcheck introduced the Irish National Mileage Register (INMR), and continues to add mileage readings to it from reliable sources on a daily basis.
Remember it’s up to the car to prove that the mileage is correct. Don’t just accept it at face value.
It really depends on what you want to achieve. Do you simply want your money back or would you prefer to see a legal prosecution made – maybe both?? If you purchased the car from a dealer (and it’s still in business) there are a number of options open to you. The first step would be to gather all your evidence and write to the dealer in question outlining your complaint with copies of the proof enclosed. Ask for a full refund of the purchase price. If you don’t get a favourable response make contact with the National Consumer Agency. They have an experienced department that will investigate all complaints and take action where warranted.
If you’ve purchased the car privately you could go down the expensive route of civil litigation, but you’ll probably find that in the long run this will cost more than the car is worth. Prevention is always better than cure, and all Motorcheck.ie reports notify users known odometer discrepancies. Order your Motorcheck.ie report today, including previous odometer readings – simply enter your reg below and hit enter:
You can also find out more on our car clocking page.
RTE’s Buyer Beware programme airs on Wednesday the 18th November at 8:30pm on RTE1.. Images taken from the show are copyright © RTE.
This morning we were invited into the Ireland AM studios at TV3 to chat with Mark Cagney about some of the more common problems we come across daily. Car clocking, insurance write off’s, outstanding finance and a variety of other important pieces of information we report on for Irish car buyers were all featured.READ MORE »
TextCheck.ie is a new SMS based service from MotorCheck.ie – the Car History People. Text VALUE followed by the Reg to 51155 to receive an instant valuation and a free identity check. A great new service that gives buyers and sellers alike the ability to Benchmark the price of any car (or van) in Ireland.READ MORE »
One piece of news that we couldn’t ignore this week was the new FREE ‘Topaz App’ that was launched. It’s something we’ve been looking forward to seeing in the app store for a while now. Motorcheck provides the data the app uses for its mileage check facility and is a great example of how our automotive data can be used in innovative ways by our business customers.READ MORE »