CLOCKING IS making a comeback, but this time it’s not dodgy garages that are the problem: car dealers are being conned by their own customers.
The revival of clocking is a consequence of the popularity of leasing deals, under which drivers pay a monthly fee and hand the car back at the end of a fixed term. Lease agreements usually stipulate a maximum number of miles the car can be driven before incurring additional fees. By having the car clocked, customers can avoid these charges.
“Some drivers facing a returns charge may consider clocking as an easy way of avoiding payment, but their actions are illegal,” said Rupert Pontin, head of valuations at Glass’s, which publishes used car prices. “We are seeing an increasing amount of industry ‘chatter’ — it is a growing problem.”
It is not illegal to alter the odometer on a vehicle you own; it is only an offence if you fail to declare the alteration to a new owner. This has allowed “mileage correction companies” to offer their services openly.
Pontin said dealers often realise a car has been clocked only when it is prepared for resale. By then it is often too late to prove who was the culprit.