Dangers of buying a clocked car, why the crime is increasingly popular, and how five prolific criminals faced justice
Why criminals clock vehicles
Greedy, reckless, self-centred crooks increasingly risk lives by winding back the mileage of second-hand vehicles to conceal wear and increase value, HPI explained. The process is known as clocking. The history checker argued that one in sixteen cars now has a mileage discrepancy - compared to only one in twenty in 2014.
A crook clocks a car for two reasons. First, it increases its resale price (on paper). A low mileage car is more valuable than a high mileage equivalent, after all. Second, it makes it easier to sell. Low/lower mileage relative to age attracts potential victims.
Consequence of buying a clocked car
Falling foul of clocking has a range of consequences. The vehicle is worth less than its purchase price, for starters. You, therefore, waste money. The crook then spends your money on (say) holidays, designer clothes, and finding other motorists to exploit.
Furthermore, consider trying to sell the car in the future. A careful, experienced, buyer is likely to spot its questionable history and look elsewhere. At best, any offer is likely to be low.
The crook callously ignores safety concerns, too. The car might have a warning light that suggests the brake pads have to be replaced, for example. This recommendation might be based on mileage. Clocking the vehicle might prevent this warning appearing.
A clocked car also has more wear and tear than expected. The consequence is expense. Perhaps the cambelt has to be replaced now rather than – as expected - in the future. Perhaps the clutch is close to the end of its life rather than – as expected – the start.
Why clocking is increasingly common
HPI explained why car clocking is on the rise. It said:
- The continued development of technology facilitates the process
- Equipment is readily available
- Some mileage correction firms behave irresponsibly
- The popularity of finance plans that impose penalties for exceeding mileage limitations encourages poor behaviour
Perpetrators face justice
Chester Crown Court recently ensured that five perpetrators faced the consequence of their actions. They wiped more than seven million miles from one-hundred plus vehicles, between 2008 - 2014.
The offenders worked for PCS Events Ltd which is a Runcorn-based chauffeur services company. They clocked vehicles that passed through their hands, sold them to innocent motorists, and profited.
Halton Borough Council and Warrington Borough Council perused the criminals, over three years. Investigators cross referenced fuel records, examined finance records, and evaluated warranty work records to show conspiracy to commit fraud. Sentences follow below:
- John Murphy, 67, from Conwy (thirty six months)
- Paul Arslanian, 38, from Conwy (twenty-seven months)
- Christopher Lunt, 39, from Chester, (twenty months)
- Simon Williams, 49, from Frodsham (eighteen months)
- Trevor Jones, 58, from Colwyn Bay (fifteen months)