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Fuel for thought: A speed limiter not only cuts bills but risks as well
Clocking has moved from the motor trade into sophisticated companies hacking on-board computers to alter the milage

What is van clocking?

  • It’s mileage fraud – the illegal practice of winding back the number of miles covered
  • For vans on PCP deals or van leases who exceed stated mileage there is a penalty mileage clause
  • Winding back the odometer – clocking – eliminates the issue. But it’s fraudulent

FRAUDSTERS have turned back the clock with the rise in mileage set leasing schemes.

Leasing and contract purchase schemes include agreed set limits which determine the monthly payment and carry big penalties if exceeded.

Now Glass’s reports that there are signs of vehicles being tampered with before they are returned to show a lower mileage than actually covered.

One time it was the trade which was largely found to be “clocking” vehicles, but now the users are increasingly turning to companies who use computers to tamper with on-board systems and ‘wind-back’ indicated mileage.

Because most of the vehicles involved have been supplied new and are less than three years old, there is no MOT certificate and often only one service stamp, so the paper trail doesn’t reveal that the mileage has been altered.
Rupert Pontin, head of valuations at Glass’s, said, “Some drivers facing a PCP returns charge may consider clocking as an easy way of avoiding payment but their actions are illegal.

He said the issue tends to come to light when the vehicle is prepared for sale either by the original dealer or another who has subsequently bought the it, probably at auction.

One time it was the trade which was largely found to be “clocking” vehicles, but now the users are increasingly turning to companies who use computers to tamper with on-board systems

When they plug the vehicle into their diagnostic rig as part of their standard vehicle preparation procedure and, depending on the model, an error code will show what has occurred.

“This places the dealer in a very difficult position because it is next to impossible to prove when the clocking took place. It is often too late to take any action against the driver because the PCP returns paperwork has already been processed.”

Rupert said that Glass’s had come across several cases of this type in recent months being reported by both dealers and motor auctions.

He said, “At this stage, it is very difficult to say how widespread this practice might be but we are certainly seeing an increasing amount of industry ‘chatter’ about the subject and it is considered a growing problem, especially as PCPs continue to massively increase their market penetration.”

There was no easy answer to the problem, Rupert explained, although closer regulation of mileage adjustment companies was one potential route.

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