Wednesday 26 April 2017

Our 'clocking' scandal: Buyers and sellers tells us of 'scams'

A car which has had its odometer reduced can let you down
A car which has had its odometer reduced can let you down
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

Sometimes it takes a personal story to truly highlight a persistent problem.

That was the case with last week's story from 'Brian' who nearly bought a car that had its odometer put back by 42,000km.

Since it appeared, 'Motors' has been swamped by stories from many others who have been duped or who see what is going on with 'clocking'.

They paint a grim spectacle - while putting a human perspective on startling figures.

But rather than flood you with a tranche of cases, we thought it best if we gave you a handful of edited perspectives.

Here is a small sample:

The car dealer: 'I pity the public'

"I'm a long-time car dealer. There are rogues out there, enabled by the lightest-touch regulation imaginable compared with the UK and US, despite the huge sums of money that go through our hands, not to mention the safety of the public being in our hands.

I buy a lot of cars in the UK. If there's even the hint of a clocked car, the dealers (over there) are always terrified of Trading Standards investigating. Money laundering, clocking, hiding mechanical problems and previous damage, previously exposed, or well-known rogues funding, opening or re-opening dealerships under different names are day-to-day features of our business, watched over by a government with no licensing or bonding system in place.

The poor public have no way of differentiating the good from the bad."

Seller: 'I saw my old car with 240,000km knocked off'

"I traded in a 2005 Focus 1.6 TDCi against a new car. I had owned the Focus from new. It had 388,000km on it.

In mid-March of that year, it failed its NCT over a cylinder problem.

In August 2015, I came across my Focus on a car website.

It was being sold "private" but it did not take me long to find a number of other cars photographed outside the same house, albeit under different registered sellers.

Two things struck me about this:

(1) The car then had a valid NCT.

(2) It was showing 147,157km (as opposed to 388,000km).

The NCT were unhelpful, but eventually told me the car was issued with a valid NCT in July 2015, with mileage of 127,000km.

They could tell me the mileage on the car on 09, 11, 13 and 15 tests and acknowledged the lower figure was 'unusual' but of no concern to them.

They suggested the new seller had changed the engine. If I had a concern that a crime was committed, I could go to the gardai, they told me.

I was flabbergasted to say the least.

Even if the engine had been changed, the chassis, braking system, suspension, airbags, steering, gearbox are all still at the original mileage.

Then last year I saw my old car on the road one evening, with a young family in it.

I felt sorry for them. They probably thought they were getting a car with plenty of life left in it.

What really gets me is the fact that the State system which is supposed to be there to protect us on the roads (the NCT and the RSA) are not doing a whole lot to combat the problem."

Indo Motoring

Promoted articles

Editors Choice

Also in Life