Chauffeur who told victim his car was clocked, claimed all cars are clocked
Car clocking in the UK is a growing problem according to industry experts, HPI, a leading vehicle checking service. The estimated annual cost is around £800 million pounds a year, £2.4 billion in the last three years alone, with 1 in 16 vehicles now having a mileage discrepancy.
These shocking statistics should have everyone from auction houses to traders on high alert. However, an investigation by licensedTransportUncovered.com (LTU) has found that too many people put too much emphasise on trust.
The investigation looked into how easy it was to purchase a clocked vehicle, even successfully purchasing one from a reputable car dealer.
The findings showed it is possible for a trader to purchase a vehicle that is clocked and obtain stock finance – a trader lends against the vehicle whilst it’s on their forecourt.
A consumer can then buy said vehicle with the same lender or another finance provider, even though the vehicle is clocked.
In a number of cases no untoward practices were found, just an inability by traders and lenders to conduct mileage checks.
Due to failures to check mileage data victims can end up with a clocked vehicle without ever knowing because they have put confidence and trust into a system which in turn can also be based on trust.
The Times newspaper highlighted last year that it was extremely unlikely that even after a successful prosecution by trading standards that any of the vehicles involved would be seized or consumers or registered keepers informed.
They also highlighted how one vehicle, a former PCS Chauffeur vehicle kept turning up on forecourts and in auction houses because every time the trader was told the vehicle was clocked it became someone else’s problem. In every case a HPI check would have shown the trader the vehicle was clocked, but they all put their trust in others, failing to conduct their own due diligence.
Which brings me to the recent PCS Chauffeurs car clocking fraud case. Over a hundred vehicles were involved in the PCS case following an investigation by trading standards, codenamed operation carriage.
Traders and the public were duped into buying clocked vehicles, some of which were sold as “ex-Emirates owned vehicles” with an estimated cost to victims of £1.4 million – when taking into account out of pocket repairs and interest payments on finance agreements.
Even though trading standards proved their case you can count on one hand how many victims were traced. This failure has resulted in an ever increasing number of victims being created as these vehicles continue to enter the motor trade.
However, in nearly every case a mileage check would disclose mileage discrepancies which you can logically conclude would result in both traders and the public not purchasing these vehicles.
To highlight the point further, TheChauffeur.com has interviewed one such victim who innocently bought a “former Emirates vehicle” in 2014.
The vehicle which was sold by PCS into the motor trade was passed through a number of traders before Mr Clayton bought the vehicle.
Those in the chain which included the dealer Mr Clayton had bought it from had bought or taken on the vehicle based on long-term relationships and trust.
A mileage check of Mr Clayton’s vehicle shows that the vehicle travelled nearly 60,000 miles in its first 7 months on the road before it was clocked down to 8,500 miles just prior to a warranty claim against Mercedes UK.
The vehicle continued to be clocked throughout the next two and a half years before being sold with a fraction of the real mileage showing on the odometer.
Mr Clayton states he first became aware his car was clocked, not by conducting a mileage check, but when an Emirates Chauffeur driver approached him at Manchester Airport, prior to criminal charges being brought against John Murphy or PCS Events Limited.
Clocking costs victims money – purchase price, finance interest and repairs – but in Mr Clayton’s case more than the value of the vehicle.
Whilst it is acceptable to have faith and trust in people, it should be concerning that thousands of clocked vehicles are being sold every year because they slip through the net due to a lack of checks.
It should be impossible for a vehicle with a mileage discrepancy on a vehicle mileage check to end up on a forecourt and funded by reputable lenders.
Chauffeurs are being advised no matter who or where you are buying a vehicle from you should conduct your own checks. As the interview shows your livelihood and main source of income can be significantly affected and leave you substantially out of pocket if you don’t.
The name and details of the driver identified by Mr Clayton in his interview have been passed to the authorities to investigate.