As HPI confirms, this week, that its National Mileage Register (NMR) now exceeds 150 million mileages, the BBC’s The One Show* puts the spotlight on the growing threat of car clocking. Leading with HPI’s figure of one million clocked cars on UK roads, The One Show went on to report how one used car buyer fell victim to clockers, spending over the odds on a vehicle that had done over four times more miles than the odometer registered.
David Woodward of Bristol bought what he thought was the car of his dreams. The immaculate Peugeot had just 34,000 miles on the clock and David spent £5,000 thinking he had a real bargain. Sadly for him, North Somerset Trading Standards informed David that the car actually had over 140,000 miles on the clock. The vehicle had been sold by a gang of criminals, who were subsequently convicted and found guilty of clocking 19 cars in total by more than 1.5 million miles.
One in 20 cars checked with HPI show a discrepant mileage, and this figure has risen by 10% in the last 5 years.
“Clocking itself isn’t illegal, but selling a clocked car without declaring its true mileage is,” explains Kristian Welch, Consumer Director for HPI. “The One Show highlighted that there are many of mileage correction firms clocking vehicles, despite there being only very rare instances when the mileage needs correcting. Clearly many of these companies are exploiting a legal loophole to help unscrupulous sellers con used car buyers out of their hard-earned cash and we support calls to change the law.
“People don’t realise that digital odometers can be clocked, but the BBC has proved what we have always known – that they can be altered just as easily but are harder to detect. A low mileage can add hundreds or even thousands of pounds to the perceived value of a vehicle, so buyers have a lot to lose. Not only could they pay more than the vehicle is worth, but the car may need servicing and repairs sooner than the tampered mileage suggests. An HPI Check includes a mileage check against the NMR as standard, and now with over 150 million readings, it safeguards the car buying public against clockers. It will also record mileages in the first 3 years of the vehicle’s life, before it enters the MOT system.”
Backing advice given by Dom Littlewood on The One Show, HPI urges consumers to check the mileages recorded on the service history. Buyers can also look for invoices and service stamps from a genuine dealer and contact the previous keeper to confirm the mileage when they sold the vehicle.
Kristian Welch concludes, “By following these simple steps car buyers can avoid wasting money on a potentially clocked vehicle. Too many buyers are unaware of the risks and get taken in by a great price and a low mileage, topped off with shiny paintwork. If a deal seems too good to be true, buyers should always walk away. The best advice is, don’t take the risk of buying a clocked vehicle, get an HPI Check.”
An HPI Check will also confirm whether a vehicle is stolen, on outstanding finance or has been written-off, making it the best way for consumers to protect themselves from fraudsters looking to make a fast profit.
HPI’S TIPS ON SPOTTING A POTENTIALLY CLOCKED VEHICLE*
- Check the service history – Check the mileages displayed in the service history and look for invoices and service stamps from a genuine dealer.
- Speak to the previous keeper – Contact the previous keeper to confirm the mileage of the vehicle when they sold it.
- Trust your judgement –Look for any evidence that indicates clocking – anything out of keeping with the general condition of the vehicle.
- Check the mileage – Clockers sometimes wind back the mileage for the first viewing and then return it to its original value once you buy. Check the mileage is the same when you pick up the vehicle.
- Look for signs of wear and tear – Does the wear and tear on areas such as seats and the steering wheel match its mileage? Look out for brand new easily replaceable parts, which don’t match the vehicle’s displayed mileage.
- Conduct an HPI Check – Don’t take the risk, let HPI check its mileage database of 150 million mileages.
*Many of these signs could be innocent, so look for more than one of the above as possible evidence of clocking