A recent investigation by BBC NI has uncovered a rise in the practice of 'car clocking'.
In its report the BBC points out that the Northern Ireland Trading Standards Authority (the Northern Ireland equivalent of our National Consumer Agency) confirm that clocking is on the rise in the provence. The authority said that "We would be hard pushed to identify a town or city where there isn't a clocker or a number of clockers operating".
The threat to the Irish consumer continues to rise as buyers opting to import a car from Northern Ireland or mainland UK risk falling victim to the illicit practice. In 2011 alone there have been more than 19,000 passenger cars imported into the Republic.
BBC Consumer correspondent Martin Cassidy said the evidence was that for an increasing number of cars in Northern Ireland, the mileage you see is not the mileage the vehicle has actually done.
The undercover investigation targeted a car dealer who had been the subject of previous prosecutions for clocking. They visited Seven Towers Autos near Ballymena and test drove a peugeot car that had been advertised with 117,000 miles. A closer look at the cars history uncovered that it had previously been recorded at an MOT test with over 182,000 miles.
In November 2009 MotorCheck assisted RTE's consumer show 'Buyer Beware' in a similar undercover operation. The results from the BBC investigation almost mirrored our previous findings proving that amongst dishonest traders, clocking is still alive and well.
MotorCheck Calls For Release of NCT Data
This example highlighted the significant contribution MOT records can make to the buying decision. In the UK if you have the MOT test number or V5 certificate number you can obtain the previous MOT test results and their mileage readings free of charge online (click here).
MotorCheck strongly believes that the readings recorded by the Department of Transport in the course of an NCT examination could prove to be a significant addition to its National Mileage Register and we continue to lobby the Department of Transport for access to this data.
Our National Mileage Register currently holds in excess of 3.3 Million readings. Readings obtained from private trade sources as well as industry partners make the register the largest of its kind in Ireland with more unique readings from trusted sources than any other database.
We have helped thousands of people avoid the pitfall of buying a clocked car but would continue to advise that no matter what the result on its MotorCheck history check a thorough examination of the cars service history is vital in establishing its true mileage.
For further tips on how to avoid buying a clocked car click here.