Motoring organisations have welcomed a move to close a legal loophole that has allowed companies to “clock” cars. Under the current law, it is legal under certain circumstances for a company to alter the apparent mileage on a vehicle before selling it.
The loophole has been described as an “alarming” one by Business Minister Anna Soubry, and she has pledged to take action in order to see it closed.
About the Loophole
The loophole allows companies and private sellers to sell a vehicle with altered mileage, provided they inform the buyer before selling it. The clocking of the vehicle is only illegal if they then fail to inform the buyer prior to a sale and if the seller is aware that the odometer reading has been tampered with.
In theory, the legal requirement that the seller inform the buyer prevents dishonesty. In practice, however, there is plenty of opportunity for unscrupulous traders to abuse this loophole. Buying a car is both an exciting process and a frantic one, and buyers have a lot on their minds. They must weigh the advantages of different makes and models, likely view multiple different vehicles, take a lot of details on board, and worry about arranging finance from a company such as http://www.rightdrive.co.uk which offers guaranteed car finance in Portsmouth. Amidst all of this, a dealer could easily slip in the fact that the mileage has been altered at a moment when they think this detail may be missed by the buyer or claim afterwards that they informed the buyer and they must have not taken it on board.
Concerns about the extent of “clocking” have intensified somewhat in the past several years, but this is not a new practice. Odometers used to be mechanical and would be advanced by rotation as the car moved. As such, they could be altered by attaching a power tool that would rotate in the opposite direction, physically winding the displayed mileage back.
Today, most cars are fitted with digital odometers, but this has not by any means made them immune to the practice of altering mileage. Special equipment can be purchased to alter displayed miles, and a number of companies exist that specialise in “correcting” the mileage displayed on a digital odometer.