Following an OFT investigation a Swindon based trader, Colin Michael Ogle, has been jailed for nine months for car clocking.
This is the first time the provider of ‘mileage correction services’, rather than the seller of clocked vehicles, has been convicted under consumer law.
The case follows the OFT’s market study into the used-car sector in 2010 which estimated the potential loss to consumers from the purchase of vehicles with false mileage is up to £580 million a year. The OFT is working with local Trading Standards Services to ensure that businesses providing mileage correction services are made aware of their responsibilities under the law.
Mr Ogle was sentenced yesterday at Swindon Crown Court after he had previously pleaded guilty to five charges under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (‘CPRs’) and eight charges under the Fraud Act 2006. Mr Ogle also agreed to a further 19 offences being taken into consideration.
Mr Ogle owned a business that advertised and provided a mileage correction service claiming to fix a range of problems with car, bike and van dashboards such as making changes to speedometers and odometers. He accepted that he adjusted vehicle odometers and had failed to take proper steps to check the reasons for requested mileage corrections or keep proper records in 70 to100 instances. The OFT believed that as a result of Mr Ogle’s actions, future purchasers were deceived and over paid for clocked vehicles.
His Honour Judge Ambrose said, ‘The second-hand car market affects us all. Mileage significantly affects the market. Consumers rely on mileage when making purchasing decisions. It is the second biggest purchase consumers make after property and for others it is the single biggest purchase.
‘The clocking of cars corrupts the market and brings unjustified suspicion on honest traders.’
The OFT believes that legitimate mileage adjustment is extremely rare. The OFT has identified 71 other websites advertising mileage correction services online and is working with local Trading Standards Services to contact these businesses to ensure they are aware of their responsibilities and to inform them that they run the risk of prosecution if they do not comply with consumer protection law.
Ali Nikpay, Senior Director at the OFT, said:
‘Thousands of consumers are paying over the odds for cars that have had their mileage illegally tampered with. This landmark prosecution sends a clear message out to those adjusting car mileages that they face prison if they break the law.
‘We will be working closely with our enforcement partners to raise standards across the sector and ensure that appropriate action is taken where mileage correction businesses break the law.’
The OFT also welcomes the recent implementation of one of its market study recommendations to make vehicle mileage data more widely available to help combat clocking.
From Motorin News