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Car clocking, or the practice of altering a vehicle's odometer to display less kilometres than has actually been travelled, is on the increase according to new data. Motorcheck.ie reports that nearly a quarter of used cars have been clocked.
The figures come from a report by Motorcheck.ie that examined the history of 20,000 registered vehicles in Ireland and is particularly worrying considering used car sales in Ireland exceeded 550,000 - compared to new car sales of less than 80,000.
"As the vast majority of used car sales occur on a 'private to private' basis the benefits and protection of consumer legislation does not apply. This is why it is so important that a prospective buyer carries out the necessary checks in advance of finalising any deal" commented Motorcheck.ie co-founder Shane Teskey.
As it stands there is no legislation in place that specifically outlaws 'clocking', though the Consumer Protection Act 2007 does make 'it an offence for a trader to engage in a misleading commercial practice'. However, as the process to secure a conviction under this provision is convoluted it is not seen as adequate protection.
This is something vehicle information experts Cartell.ie are hoping to resolve. To assist in combating the rise in vehicle clocking Cartell's legal division drafted a Bill that seeks to criminalise clocking. The Bill passed Stage I in the Oireachtas at the end of the 2012 Dáil Session and is set for Stage II later in 2013.
"Clocking is a problem in Ireland, and the incidence rate has crept worryingly upwards in the past few years," said Cartell Director Jeff Aherne." We drafted the Bill because we are concerned with the situation, and we want to be pro-active and champion consumer interests."
According to Cartell data (which uses a larger database of at least 50,000 vehicles) the clocking rate in Ireland currently stands at 11 per cent. While lower than the surprisingly high figure from Motorcheck it is still almost double that of the UK.