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Probe uncovers an ‘epidemic’ of clocking

Time 11:15 am, August 7, 2017

A PROBE by a national newspaper has found that up to 500,000 used cars were clocked last year before being sold.

The Times blamed new finance deals for what it called ‘a car clocking epidemic’ and said correction devices available online for as low as £80 plus correction services costing half that weren’t helping.

As the law stands at present, although a vehicle’s mileage can be changed it is illegal to sell a vehicle whose mileage is wrong.

It cited a case where a Mercedes-Benz that hadn’t had a full check turned out to have had more than 100,000 miles removed from its milometer.

The Times said that nearly nine of 10 cars bought new are done so via PCPs, whereby just the depreciation cost is paid for over the contract term. With mileage limits forming a fundamental part of the deal, if the negotiated limit is topped then there can be a huge incentive for the person leasing the car to alter the mileage to avoid being penalised.

The newspaper quoted Christopher Hargreaves, of trade website Licensed Transport Uncovered, as saying: ‘Car clocking has for many years been associated with ‘‘Arthur Daley’’ car dealers, an assumption which is outdated and wrong.’

According to The Times, HPI Check, which checks mileages, said one in 16 cars that it ran checks on in 2016 had a discrepancy in its mileage, an increase from one in 20 two years earlier. Since there are eight million second-hand cars sold annually, this was equal to up to 500,000 possibly having had their odometers altered.

In 2010, it was estimated by the Office of Fair Trading that clocking was costing the public £580 million annually, said The Times, which added that that figure was now likely to be more than £1 billion.

Picture: Lynne Cameron/PA Archive/PA Images

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