More than a fifth of used car customers now ask dealers for proof that they have validated a vehicle’s mileage, reports a new survey* from HPI.
However, despite growing consumer awareness of the dangers of clocking, only 10% of dealers surveyed said they actively declare that they have conducted a mileage check on a vehicle, vitally weakening their sales proposition, says HPI.
Over 52% of dealers said that consumers who enter their showrooms do know about clocking, but the level of concern varies significantly.
Neil Hodson, deputy managing director for Cap HPI said: “Although the number of national mileage register (NMR) checks and investigations has grown by up to 34% in the last five years, in line with the used car market, dealers fail to recognise how these checks can aid their sales teams.
“Not only should dealers make conducting mileage investigations an integral part of their business process, to protect their reputation and their customers, they need to actively promote the fact to their customers that these checks have been done.
“Our survey confirms that consumers are seeking peace of mind against clocking, yet dealers are choosing to overlook this.
“Proof of a mileage check should be a key part of a dealer’s sales strategy, promoting the quality of their stock, as well as highlighting the dangers of clocking for their customers.”
The NMR has more than 200 million mileage records over 18 years.
Although 92% of dealers consider clocking a ‘terrible’ blight on the industry and a major risk to its reputation, 69% of dealers surveyed by hpi are feared to not be taking suitable precautions to identify inaccurate mileages as standard practice.
Hodson said: “In addition to conducting an independent mileage check, dealers should check the mileage with all previously registered keepers.
“A NMR investigation will exhaust all avenues to correctly validate the vehicle’s previous mileages, giving dealers absolute confidence in the quality and status of their stock. Crucially, however, it will provide a sound legal defence in the event of a discrepancy being uncovered. By conducting due diligence, dealers must demonstrate they have taken all reasonable steps to establish the accuracy of a vehicle’s stated mileage.”
HPI’s steps to meeting due diligence:
> Conduct an independent mileage check with a reliable company
> Check the mileage with all previous registered keepers - a full mileage investigation has been shown to provide a sound legal defence in clocking cases
> Ensure the vehicle’s condition is comparable with the described age and mileage
> Check previous service records
> Check previous MOT mileages - but beware - clockers may try to legitimise false mileages on www.gov.uk
> Do not rely on mileage readings from a single source
> Do not rely on mileage disclaimers as substitute for carrying out proper checks
* HPI survey of 208 dealer respondents