NFDA calls time on clockers

The National Franchised Dealers Association in conjunction with the Retail Motor Industry Federation – the UK’s leading automotive trade body – is calling for the government to do more to tackle the issue of odometer fraud in the UK, with the launch of a new campaign to raise awareness and encourage the outlawing of mileage adjustment companies in the UK.

The campaign, which launches yesterday (9 September) also raises concerns over the robustness of the current EU proposal to outlaw mileage correction companies – of which more than 70 are based in the UK – by 2018, warning it does not do enough to tackle the growing issue of clocking.

It is estimated that up to 486,000 cars on the UK’s roads could be clocked, costing owners an estimated £580million per year, but whilst clocking itself is not illegal, the practice of selling a clocked vehicle to someone without notifying them that the odometer has been altered is.

Clocking is the practice of altering a vehicle’s odometer to show a lower mileage than that actually travelled, thereby increasing the re-sale value of the vehicle.

The NFDA is calling for the government to outlaw all forms of clocking and to help consumers understand the signs and effects of odometer fraud.

Clocking is not only economically damaging but a serious safety issue. Vehicles can remain unserviced for longer periods of time as their mileage readings are lower and therefore appear to have undergone less use. The NFDA warns that when a vehicle is left unserviced, the results can be devastating and should not be considered lightly.

Clocking is thought to be on the rise, due in part to the popularity of PCP finance plans, which carry agreed mileage limits. Accordingly to industry statistics, a buyer could pay more than £2,000 over the real value for a five door 2006 VW Golf Hatchback 1.9 TDI S that has been clocked from 120,000 miles to just 40,000 miles.

Sue Robinson, director of the NFDA said, ‘After many years of the NFDA and other trade bodies lobbying for regulation against odometer clocking, it is time for something to change.’

‘Hundreds of thousands of people have fallen foul of scams involving clocked vehicles which, according to the Office of Fair Trading, is costing the motoring industry more than £100m a year and resulting in unnecessary dangers on the road.’

‘Simply outlawing mileage correction companies by 2018 is not enough. In those three years thousands more cars will be clocked, hugely compromising the safety of cars on UK roads. A mileage adjustment company is not necessarily the only route for someone who wants to alter their vehicle’s mileage, so a broader zero tolerance stance must be adopted.’

‘Often when people think of clocking they get images of Swiss Toni-like car salesmen and suspicious second-hand cars, whereas in reality the problem is much more widespread with people from all walks of life engaging in the practice.’

‘Clocking is actually a growing issue and needs to be recognised as a serious crime due to the safety implications it poses to road users.’