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A guide to clockingBack

ClockingCar clocking is at an all time high with Citizen’s Advice recently reporting that they now deal with more used car gripes than anything else.

A Government-backed Used Car Commission reported that, after a year of examining the used car market, complaints about used-cars sales significantly rose. In addition, it reported that according to the AA, a total 180,000 ‘clocked’ cars are sold each year that have had their mileage altered. The Commission concluded that those people buying second-hand cars need greater protection.

At Trusted Dealers, we offer all of our buyers our unique 10 Points of Difference promise. Every car bought from a Trusted Dealer has undergone a series of important checks to ensure it has not been clocked, lost or stolen, or has any outstanding finance debt still to pay. Our aim is to provide buyers with the peace of mind that any used car they buy from us will be in tip top condition.

If you’ve been sold a car with a false mileage you may be able to get your money back or claim compensation for the difference between what you paid and the car’s true value. Our guide below explains what to do if you’ve been sold a clocked car.

What is clocking?

Clocking occurs when the mileage clock on a car is altered to make it look as if the car has done fewer miles than it has. More recently, the traditional method of physically rolling back to odometer has been replaced by computer gadgetry and digital read-outs but the dangers remain the same.

How to spot a clocked car

There are a number of tell-tale signs you can look out for to ascertain whether a used car has been clocked, take a look below at some of the more obvious ones:

  • If the car has low mileage but looks well used.
  • If the steering wheel or gear knob look excessively shiny (a steering wheel can be replaced for very little cost) yet the pedal rubbers and the seats show plenty of wear.
  • The digits on the odometer don’t line up properly – this can occur naturally or be the sign of an amateur clocker.

How to avoid buying a clocked car

There are a number of important steps you can take to ensure you do avoid purchasing a clocked car:

Ask the seller questions – If you’re buying from a dealer or a private seller, never be afraid to ask questions. Below is a list of suggested questions you could ask to ensure you are buying a history checked car.

  • How long have you had the vehicle?
  • Is there a service history?
  • Is there an MOT and are there any previous MOTs to substantiate the mileage?
  • Is there a DVLA Registration Document, and did you purchase the car off the registered keeper?
  • Is the mileage correct, if so, can you verify this in writing?

Clocking1Look at the documents – make a note of the registered keeper(s) so that if you are in any doubt, you can phone them before you buy. This is a good idea as you can ask them to confirm the vehicle’s mileage when it was in their ownership and any other details they may know about the car such as, if it was in any accidents.

Check the service history – examine the service history in detail to ensure it is not a forged. You can make notes of the servicing dealers, names and numbers, then phone them up to check that they actually exist. You can also ask them questions in relation to the MOTs and work carried out on the vehicle.

Check the MOT – cars require an MOT when they reach 3 years old. Find out when the car was last MOT’d and check this adds up with the car’s date of registration.

Which cars are most at risk?

Target cars for clocking are usually reliable makes which will last and hide their age well, and particularly high mileage ex-company cars and lease scheme cars where penalties can be given if the cars are returned in bad condition or with excessive mileage.

Clocking2What to do if your car has been clocked

If the seller told you that the mileage reading was accurate and you find out it isn’t, you can claim compensation for the difference between what you paid and the real value of the car. This also applies if the seller didn’t check the mileage was correct and didn’t tell you. You are also entitled to reject the car and ask for your money back.

Dealers are supposed to check the mileage of a car before they sell it. A dealer can be prosecuted for selling a car with a false mileage, even if they are unaware the car is clocked. If the dealer tries to avoid responsibility for the clocked car, they are in breach of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.

Posted by Leana Kell on 23/03/2015