Tuesday 23 January 2018

At last we can look forward to some real protection for consumers from 'clocking'

Dear Eddie,

New legislation due to combat 'clocking'
New legislation due to combat 'clocking'

AS you have highlighted on several occasions the issue of clocking, I wanted to tell your readers about the latest legislative developments.

In 2010 our company drafted and presented to the Dail, legislation which sought to criminalise the clocking of a motor vehicle in Ireland.

That legislation was initially rejected by the FF/PD/Green Government in June 2010. In December 2012 a modified version was moved as a Private Member's Bill by Anthony Lawlor TD (Fine Gael).

We are delighted with the news that Transport, Tourism and Sports Minister Leo Varadkar is due to move amendments tonight to the Road Traffic (No 2) Bill 2013, already at Report Stage in the Dail, which will address the issue of "clocking".

The legislation, when enacted, will do several things. Principally it will:

1 Introduce the offence of interference with the odometer of a motor vehicle, which will carry a maximum penalty of three months' imprisonment.

2 Grant the power of arrest to a garda who has reasonable grounds for believing a person has committed such an offence, or, is in the process of committing such an offence.

3 Introduce a defence for a person who was acting in good faith in order to test, repair or replace the odometer of the motor vehicle.

We are hopeful the legislation will be enacted and enforced imminently and bring with it a significant layer of protection for consumers who are vulnerable to buying a "clocked" vehicle.

This should be considered a major advancement for consumer protection and is a critical step in the battle to eradicate the practice of vehicle clocking in this country.

Based on checks carried out on Cartell.ie in 2013, we estimate that upwards of 10pc of the fleet in Ireland has been clocked.

This is higher than the comparable figure of 6pc in the UK. While we do not expect the problem to disappear overnight, the introduction of legislation which criminalises the practice will likely have an immediate impact and give much-needed powers to the gardai to investigate suspected cases.

Dr John P Byrne, Barrister-at-Law, Legal and PR Manager, Cartell.ie

Irish Independent

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