Regulation should be introduced to bring a much higher level of control to the mileage adjustment sector, believes the Vehicle Remarketing Association.
The trade organisation – which represents companies that are involved in remarketing more than 1.5 million vehicles every year – says that it is hearing reports from members that suggest that the problem is becoming more prevalent.
Glenn Sturley, chair at the VRA, said: “The fact is that anyone with a laptop and some fairly simple, inexpensive digital tools can set themselves up as a mileage adjuster or even adjust the mileage on their own cars.
“With the growth in PCPs over the last few years, many of them predicated on headline rates that are based on low annual mileage, there is undoubtedly a demand in the market for less-than-scrupulous adjusters to wind back the clock.
“We hear some fairly horrific stories from our members and are coming across them with increasing frequency, not just cases of people taking a few thousand miles off so that they don’t have to pay excess charges but lease cars being used as minicabs, clocking up galactic mileages in a short space of time and then being wound back massively.
“This is an area that is unregulated and crying out for some degree of control. At the end of the day, this is an issue of safety and of fraud. It needs to be taken more seriously. A car that has clocked up a huge mileage with minimal maintenance and then been wound back is a potential hazard on the road.”
Glenn added that the remarketing industry had, in some instances, access to the technology to check cars for mileage adjustment but that it was expensive and time-consuming.
“Processing a vehicle to check for adjustment can easily take half an hour. If you are handling hundreds or thousands or vehicles in a day, as some of our members do, carrying out this kind of audit is quite impractical.
“Our view is that the issue is much better dealt with at source by introducing perhaps a system of licencing for anyone who sets themselves up as a mileage adjuster or by closer control of the sale of the equipment involved. At the end of the day, there are very few legitimate reasons for adjusting mileage.
“We would very much like to hear the views of other voices across the industry to hear about ways to tackle this problem.”