CAR CLOCKING appears to be on the rise again according to Motor Trade Insider. In an article published online the group say the practice is widespread – and not just from spurious car dealers. The article says that while Guaranteed Future Values are linked, to a certain extent, to the mileage the buyer states they will do, the penalties for exceeding that total mileage can be a massive problem for some drivers.
Guaranteed Future Values (GFVs) often centre on the arrangement where the driver puts a down payment on a car direct with a manufacturer and pays-off a certain amount per month on the vehicle over an agreed period of time. At the end of that period the driver can pay off a remaining balloon payment which is the GFV of the vehicle or the driver can hand the car back or can trade onwards and start the process again. The GFV depends on the mileage on the vehicle and there can be significant penalties for drivers who exceed the agreed mileage.
While the concept of GFV is relatively new in Ireland the practice has been prominent in the UK for some time. Motor Trade Insider give the example of an individual who has agreed to do 8,000 miles per annum over a 3 year period – their penalty for exceeding that is normally 10p per mile. The article says that owing to the current economic climate companies are adjusting the clocks on their vehicles to avoid paying the penalty and protect the residual value. The article continues by saying:
“Of course this is not being widely reported at present and car dealers are very careful in ensuring that the used cars they have for sale are mileage checked against service records etc, however with variable servicing prevalent in lots of cars this information cannot always be totally relied on.”
Interestingly, the article notes that some car makers are taking steps to eradicate the possibility of clocking by developing technology which will ensure that all the mileage and maintenance information is stored within a code in the key, thus allowing dealers to make a simple check to verify the cars authenticity.
Insider also give some basic tips to spotting a car which may have been clocked:
– Look for a smooth steering wheel which would indicate long use should the wear be so pronounced on the age of the car.
– Look at the pedals and surrounding carpets for signs of excess wear and tear as this could also indicate far more use than the stated mileage may indicate.
– How does the driver’s seat feel? Is it still firm and comfortable or is lopsided or spongy?
– Always check the service history in the service book and ensure the mileage stated adds up with the servicing parameters. Also ensure that the stamps are genuine, if necessary contact the dealer whose stamp is in the book for verification.