HPI urges dealers to protect themselves

As a Birmingham independent car dealer is jailed for five years and six months for clocking more than 4 million miles off cars, vehicle history check expert, HPI, highlights this case to serve as a warning to used car dealers, who aren’t conducting regular mileage checks on their vehicles.

Believed to be the biggest investigation ever by Birmingham Trading Standards, the case revealed that the criminal trader had made a profit of £170,000 on vehicles by tampering with mileages.

‘Concern over clocking is on the increase. What was perceived to be a ‘thing of the past’, is now firmly back on the national agenda. The biggest risk for dealers is selling a vehicle, unaware that it has an altered mileage,’ warned Neil Hodson, managing director of HPI. ‘One in 20 vehicles checked with HPI show a discrepant mileage, but too many dealers are still taking unnecessary risks and underestimate the scale of the problem. Whilst the Birmingham case is extreme, Trading Standards Officers across the country are taking a firm stand against mileage fraud.’

‘Dealers who don’t take care to ensure all their stock is legitimate could be risking their reputation and their business. A National Mileage Register check is a vital tool for dealers looking to operate best practice.  Not only does it give dealers the reassurance that they have met their duty of care under the CPRs (Consumer Protection Regulations), it will also protect their business and their customers, as well as raising standards within the motor industry as a whole.’

HPI runs the National Mileage Register (NMR), the largest independent database of vehicle mileages in the UK.  By conducting a check against the National Mileage Register (NMR) dealers can quickly establish if there is a potential problem with the car they are looking to part exchange or buy. Not only does the National Mileage Register contain over 200 million mileage records covering vehicles of all ages, dating as far back as 1992, it crucially holds the mileage readings of vehicles less than 3 years of age.

Dealers should conduct a mileage check as a matter of course, but particularly on any car that has had more than one owner as well as asking customers for the log book and service history.

Neil Hodson concluded, ‘Our figures show that 70% of dealers are concerned about the threat clocking poses to their reputation. Worryingly, almost 50% of dealers say their customers are not aware of the dangers of buying a clocked car. HPI continues to work with consumers and the industry to raise awareness of used car buying risks. We’re urging dealers to conduct a mileage check every time. It’s the best way to spot a clocked vehicle, before it’s too late.’

‘If a vehicle has had more than one keeper or it has a discrepancy, HPI’s mileage investigation team will exhaust all avenues to correctly validate the vehicle’s mileage. This gives dealers absolute confidence in the quality and status of its stock, helping them sell more and operate best practice.’