At Limo Broker we are all about fair practice, going to great lengths to adhere to transport and hire regulation. Being such a heavy-regulated industry ill practice is normally uncovered pretty quickly, putting the consumer at the forefront of the way in which we work. However, a new investigation carried out by Automotive experts HPI and consumer group has shown otherwise, proving that the practice of ‘clocking’ is very much present in today’s private hire industry.

Clocking refers to the practice of manually taking miles off of a vehicle’s odometer, making it look less worked than it actually is. With the introduction of eclectic-focused cars we would have thought this to be more difficult in modern times, however, it is a problem of today that brings with it a string of dangers.

Chris Hargreaves, of LTU, said:

Clocking within the private hire, minicab and chauffeur industry has reached epidemic proportions and something needs to be done to prevent this unscrupulous practice before a real tragedy happens.

Testing anonymously the two investigators were shocked to see just how many limos, taxis and private chauffeur cars were posing danger to its passengers, being a completely different car on paper to the reality shown under the bonnet.

The 330 clocked cars we found had about 80 million miles removed but that was just in the north west of England. UK-wide it’s safe to say that hundreds of millions of miles must have been wiped out thanks to clocking Hargreaves continued.

While associated with rogue traders this investigation saw many reputable companies within the space with tampered fleets.

he added; “It’s truly shocking to discover that reputable leasing companies are giving out lease agreements to the industry based on as little as 10,000 miles per year – 27.3 miles per day! Surely neither the vehicle manufacturers nor the leasing companies have to be in the industry to see the warning signs. In most local authority districts a licensed vehicle has to be doing at least 1,000 miles a week to make any money. So, why is any lease deal being done for less than, say, 50,000 miles per year? If any thought was given to these transactions, the ridiculously low mileage lease deals would never be signed up in the first place.”

The sales market

As well as ensuring vehicle owners are paying less for maintenance changing the number of miles on a vehicle also gives way to high asking prices, allowing traders to sell taxis, limos and chauffeur cars for more than they are worth.

Barry Shorto, Head of Industry Relations at Cap HPI, said:

“Our valuation data conclusively shows the potential cost to dealers and motorists of the clocking problem. With clockers able to add thousands of pounds onto the value of a car, unsuspecting buyers stand to lose out, as do dealers. That’s why we advise retailers and consumers alike to conduct a vehicle history check to spot a mileage discrepancy before they buy.”

He added;

“It can be almost impossible to tell a clocked vehicle just by looking at it, which makes a vehicle history check an even more vital form of protection for buyers. A clocked vehicle could be hiding serious levels of wear and tear, especially if it has been previously used as a high mileage private hire vehicle for a couple of years, meaning the additional cost of unexpected repairs or even a potentially serious safety threat to driver, passengers and other road users. An HPI Check can help protect consumers from buying a vehicle with something to hide, saving them cash and keeping them safe.”

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