Car clocking still costing Irish motorists millions of euros
Criminalising clocking has not deterred the frauds
Turning back the mileage is adding billions to the values of used cars across Europe.
Car clocking, or the practice of turning back the mileage on a car in order to sell it for a higher price, was made officially illegal earlier this year. It may seem strange that for so long clocking was not in and of itself an offence (one had to chase perpetrators down through byzantine fraud laws) but since February, the act of clocking itself has been an offence, carrying a maximum fine of €2,500 and a potential custodial term.
The deterrent does not seem to be working though, as car history experts motorcheck.ie still estimates that around 15 per cent of all cars offered for sale have been clocked and that the practice is over-inflating values of used cars to the tune of €40-60-million. Across Europe, the figure is estimated to be as much as €9.6-billion.
With those figures looking ever more daunting, Fine Gael MEP for Ireland South Deirdre Clune has put forward a proposal for an EU-wide statutory mileage register. Ms Clune said she would be asking Transport Commissioner Maroš Šefcovic to prioritise such a system, that would see mileage officially recorded when the vehicles undergo mandatory safety checks such as our NCT or the British MOT. Those figures could then be shared and checked by future purchasers across Europe.
As of July this year, the National Car Testing Service (NCTS) is now taking mileage readings as part of the NCT for each car, and adding that reading to a central database. Critics have said, though, that the mileage readings taken during the test are often imprecise or inaccurate. Worse still, the NCT readings are not currently shared with third parties, such as vehicle hisotry checking services.
Still, it’s a case of something has to be done and one has to start somewhere. Commenting on Ms Clune’s proposal, Michael Rochford, managing director of Motorcheck.ie said “The industry applauds this action by Ms Clune and the Transport Committee. It is shameful that despite having criminalised the practice of clocking Government agencies in Ireland still do not allow mileage readings collected at time of the NCT to be shared with third parties”.
The Road Safety Authority, on behalf of the NCT, and the Revenue Commissioners currently cite data protection concerns as the reason for not sharing their mileage data. Mr Rochford, however, believes that any such concerns have been officially addressed yet the position remains unchanged. “It is my understanding that there are data protection concerns at play but these concerns have been addressed properly with the data protection commissioner and there is no good reason why certain mileage data cannot be shared in order to equip both the industry and consumers with the tools to combat this illegal practice.”