Buyers put on alert as investigation uncovers how one-in-seven UK imports were 'clocked'
* But new rules cut Irish-based discrepancies
Published 25/11/2015 | 02:30
Used imports from the UK are nearly twice as likely as a secondhand Irish car to have been 'clocked', a new investigation reveals today.
It found that one-in-seven (14.5pc) of UK vehicles examined by vehicle-history check experts had a "mileage discrepancy".
However, the corresponding figure for Irish-based cars was one-in-12 - or 8.4pc.
The investigation was carried out by vehicle history experts Cartell.ie and the results show, according to its authors, that "clocking" is still prevalent.
As such it continues to pose a considerable risk for anyone buying secondhand, from the UK especially. Those buyers face paying far more for a car than it is worth and it may have serious safety consequences, as false mileage can disguise heavy wear and tear.
The company examined a random sample of 4,479 vehicle history checks by potential buyers during September and October.
While the UK levels of clocking remained worryingly high, the reduction in the number of dodgy Irish cars is being viewed as a sign that legislation criminalising the practice which was enacted in 2014 (Section 14 of the Road Traffic Act) is beginning to have an impact.
But with so many cars still being imported from the UK despite the unfavourable exchange rate, Cartell is raising a new alert. More than 44,000 cars have already been imported so far this year. The company also cites recent reports in the UK highlighting an increase in clocking. It says: "The Cartell study shows how vulnerable the consumer is to potentially purchasing a clocked UK vehicle."
Among the examples of clocking discovered by the experts were:
* A UK-registered Volkswagen Golf that showed a recorded mileage of 7,000 miles higher than the current reading - but the figure had been recorded NINE years ago.
* A Toyota Avensis, registered in the UK, had a previously recorded mileage 110,000 miles higher than its current reading.
* A Ford Transit currently displayed a mileage 61,000 miles lower than a reading recorded in July 2015.
* An Audi A4 displayed mileage 58,000 miles lower than a reading recorded in March 2014 in the UK.
John Byrne of Cartell.ie told us: "Evidence from the UK indicates owners of vehicles are clocking their own vehicle before advancing it in the market.
This can be for a variety of reasons including avoiding mileage penalties on Personal Contract Purchases (PCPs)."
He added: "Any potential buyer of a UK vehicle needs to be particularly careful."