Mileage fraud clocks in at all time high

Unsuspecting motorists are more vulnerable behind the wheel than ever before as new figures from automotive data experts HPI reveal the number of cars on UK roads with mileage discrepancies has risen to one in 14.


The one in 14 cars being ‘clocked’ statistic has shot up from one in 16 in 2017 and one in 20 cars in 2014, an increase of nearly a third (30%) in just 5 years.

As one of the UK’s leading authorities on vehicle checking services, HPI estimates the practice is costing motorists over £800 million every year.

It is illegal to sell a clocked car without declaring its genuine mileage, but the act of altering the car’s odometer is not an offence. The illegal practice of clocking takes place when drivers look to deliberately defraud second-hand car buyers when the vehicle is sold on.

Commenting on the worrying increase in the practice, Barry Shorto, head of industry relations at HPI, said: “Clocking and mileage fraud is a problem that refuses to go away and continues to get worse. Used car buyers now have a one in 14 chance of purchasing a vehicle with a mileage discrepancy which is extremely concerning. Criminals are increasingly using more advanced technology to make it easier for them to clock vehicles and cover their tracks.

“The continued development of technologies to alter digital odometers, easy access to this technology via the internet and similarly, the ease of access to mileage adjustment services online, some of whom will behave legitimately, others less so, are all exacerbating the trend. The increase in mileage-related finance arrangements such as PCP and PCH may also be a contributing factor as motorists look to avoid costly penalties for exceeding mileage allowances.”

HPI estimates that 1 in 3 cars that it checks every year has a hidden history.

Conducting a HPI Check is the ideal way to unearth any anomalies with a used car, checking more than 80 valuable data points about its history, identifying issues such as any outstanding finance, safety recalls and checks to see if it’s ever been stolen or a classified as an insurance write-off. In 2018, over 28 million HPI Checks were carried out on UK vehicles.

The HPI Check also includes a mileage check against the National Mileage Register as standard, now with over 200 million mileage readings.

Mr Shorto added: “Our valuation data conclusively shows the potential cost to dealers and motorists of the clocking problem. With clockers able to add thousands of pounds onto the value of a car, unsuspecting buyers stand to lose out, as do dealers. That’s why we advise retailers and consumers alike to conduct a vehicle history check to spot a mileage discrepancy before they buy.

“It can be almost impossible to tell a clocked vehicle just by looking at it, which makes a vehicle history check an even more vital form of protection for buyers. A clocked vehicle could be hiding serious levels of wear and tear, especially if it has been previously used as a high mileage private hire vehicle for a couple of years, meaning the additional cost of unexpected repairs or even a potentially serious safety threat to driver, passengers and other road users. An HPI Check can help protect consumers from buying a vehicle with something to hide, saving them cash and keeping them safe.”

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