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I bought a clocked car!
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# 1
kate.2000
Old 20-09-2009, 3:04 PM
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Default I bought a clocked car!

I bought a VW Touran in July 08 from a dealer who was advertising it on Auto Trader website for 9000 with 38K mileage. I travelled 50 miles on the train to see it, test drove it and decided to by it. The trader told me they sell all their vehicles with a brand new MOT which was sold to me as a benefit and that I would need to return a day later to collect it. Not at any point did the trader tell me that the car mileage was incorrect - but looking back over the papers now there are warning signs all over the place. Yes - I know, I should have checked through all of my receipts, but I had no reason to feel unsure as I was buying from a dealer..... yes big mistake! I am positive that I have not even seen the text on some of the papers that have my signature on them - as they explixitly say that I am purchasing a car with incorrect mileage - which I would not have done. Also on one page there is a rubber stamp imprint saying "Warning the mileage on this car is incorrect" and a tick box to say that I have not been given any reason to think the mileage is correct - which I know must have been stamped and ticked after I signed. These papers were also folded in half and stapled with his business card sealing them making inspection difficult without undoing the staple.

I have only recently found out about the mileage discrepency when I went to sell the car this August - and when I say discrepency ...... the car had an MOT in Feb 08 showing over 104K
!! The dealer got the car just a 3 weeks before I purchased it - so you can add more miles on top of that before I purchased it! In all, they reckon it was clocked about 88K! Having a brand new MOT helped ensure that I did not need to necessarily take the car in until the following year - which I didn't!

Trading Standards have been very helpful, and I have found out that this dealer has about 20 cases already with them, is being investigated and has already gone to court (he denied everything) and lost. I have done as they have suggested and have written to him stating the sales of goods act and asked for a full refund or 3000 compensation - his solicitors response came rapidly denying everything and stating the signed papers, which were definately doctored, and requesting a copy of the (online) advert.

My enquiry is ..... shall I take it to court or am I wasting my time? I know there are so many things I should have done (HPI checks and inspecting the papers more closely - even though the information was only displayed after signing) but I foolishly thought that a dealer would never be able to do that! As a female who knows nothing about cars, I again foolishly thought that going to a dealer was a safe option! I feel that this guy has got to stop trading if he is continually doing this, as it seems so - he seems to have everything prepared to cover his tracks and preys on the confidence he gives.

So do I take him to court?

Your advice is much appreciated!
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# 2
rev_henry
Old 20-09-2009, 3:17 PM
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What do trading standards think about all this? What's their advice?
You could start by naming and shaming him here, but I'm not really sure about what you should do now. Someone more knowledgeable should be along soon.
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# 3
hartcjhart
Old 20-09-2009, 3:30 PM
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ask trading standards for copies of their info then go to a solicitor and get advice,most do a free half hour consultation
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# 4
flea72
Old 20-09-2009, 4:49 PM
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the car might not have been clocked (in the true sense of the word), but it could have had a new mileometer fitted at some point, which would mean you couldnt trust the reading on the car (most used dealers have warning stickers on the dash, stating they cant confirm what is showing is true)

regarding taking them to court, yes i would go down that route, espec as you say TS already have this company on their files. i wouldnt be just seeking compensation, i would be informing the police too. im suprised TS havent already brought them in

Not being funny though, the interior of a car that has done 104k would not be in a very good condition. The steering wheel would be worn, as would the pedals, and i think the interior would look tired too

As the car is obviously over 3yrs old, the low mileage on the vehicle would have rung warning bells straight away. MPVs very rarely have low mileage, as they are used by people who do lots of running around with the kids, or they are used for private hire

However, it seems the dealer was underhand in his tactics. You should have read all the paperwork fully, whether stapled down or not. Are you implying that the dealer has forged your signature on the paperwork (def involve police), or are you saying that you signed without fully reading the paperwork?

I dont know, when i buy a new car, the first thing i do when i get home, is read through all the paperwork, look through the service book, etc. The new MOT would have had the correct mileage on it, you cant doctor that, so no matter what the one in Feb 08 said, the one done in August 08, would still show the correct mileage, so what was this one showing? 38k? or 104k+?

Again, if the MOT certificate is showing 38k, then this is a matter for the police

You say the dealer has been taken to court before, and lost. Did the person who took him to court, ever get any money back, or are they still waiting? Winning in court, doesnt necessarily mean you will see any of your money back, you may then have to chase them for it, via the courts again

This isnt something that is going to be solved quickly, or cheaply. Def seek legal advise, as said above, most solicitors give a free half hour consultation, but im suprised that TS havent already jumped in on your behalf, seeing as they seem to have lots of evidence

Flea
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# 5
BFG
Old 20-09-2009, 7:47 PM
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less than 5k..cheap court action [DIY] via the small claims track of the county court

It's a civil case so the burden of proof is 'on the balance of probabilities'........

I'd get papers issued ...assuming he's got assets that can be seized if you win and he doesn't pay.

But go and see a solicitor for your free half hour first
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# 6
kate.2000
Old 21-09-2009, 6:58 PM
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Right, the brand new MOT that they did after I paid the deposit did say 38K! It was also advertised in Auto Trader online as 38K. The car was in good condition and the interior was super clean (I am quite fussy on things like that)! The steering wheel and pedals showed no excessive wear at all (and still don't), but I am no car expert and contrary to the "signed" documentation, I am usually pretty savvy!

I went to the police first but they sent me to Trading Standards. Trading Standards advised me to write a letter demanding a full refund or compensation, and if I wanted to take it further after that - to take it to court. They would not give me any details or information on any other cases - I think they are not allowed, but I did google the trader and found out about the other cases from there. In the only case I have found that has gone to court which is on the Office of Fair Tradings website, he had to sign an Undertaking and is being monitered by Trading Standards - but has no details of the people who won against him and for how much. The problem I feel, is that he signed this just before he sold me the car (about 2 weeks), and the documentations I signed seems to cover him - but how would I prove that he deceived me. There are other cases on forums showing there are many other Trading Standards complaints after he signed though.

I have written to my family solicitor so I'll get some legal advice - but it is good to hear from people who have knowledge of this kind of problem to help me decide whether to go through with it or not!
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# 7
Altarf
Old 21-09-2009, 7:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flea72 View Post
Again, if the MOT certificate is showing 38k, then this is a matter for the police
Why? The MOT test centre just takes the figure off the speedo. How are they to know the speedo has been changed and they need to add x miles onto what is displayed.
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# 8
rev_henry
Old 21-09-2009, 7:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BFG View Post
less than 5k..cheap court action [DIY] via the small claims track of the county court

It's a civil case so the burden of proof is 'on the balance of probabilities'........

I'd get papers issued ...assuming he's got assets that can be seized if you win and he doesn't pay.
Which he almost certainly will have if he's in the habit of selling 9k cars, so thats one less thing to worry about I guess.
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# 9
flea72
Old 21-09-2009, 9:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Altarf View Post
Why? The MOT test centre just takes the figure off the speedo. How are they to know the speedo has been changed and they need to add x miles onto what is displayed.
because its all computerised, and a lower mileage than previously registered would flag up on the system

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# 10
Altarf
Old 21-09-2009, 9:11 PM
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Of course it is, but what are the procedures for dealing with the mismatch. Is it just flagged up to VOSA?

After all, even if the MOT test centre machine was set to beep and goes "does not compute", what are they supposed to do, after all they have no way of knowing the real mileage (and the reason for the discrepancy might be genuine).

So as you obviously know what happens at an MOT test centre, please tell us what happens and what the procedure is for dealing with it.
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# 11
peachyprice
Old 21-09-2009, 9:41 PM
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From my experience if there are any discrepancies between MOT's the test centre should refuse to perform the MOT.
Accept your past without regret, handle your present with confidence and face your future without fear
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# 12
Altarf
Old 22-09-2009, 6:20 AM
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A mileage discrepancy doesn't appear to be a valid reason to refuse to perform the test - http://www.motinfo.gov.uk/htdocs/tgx03000101.htm
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# 13
kate.2000
Old 23-09-2009, 3:46 PM
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I understand it should not be a valid reason to refuse a test - but it seems madness that it shouldn't have any details of the previous recorded mileages if there is a discrepancy! It just seems like an easy way for this to be hidden from a new buyer!
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# 14
Altarf
Old 23-09-2009, 4:28 PM
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Not being sarcastic, because clearly you have been taken for a ride by the dealer, but the information is available, just not printed on the MOT certificate.

You can log on to the MOT database if you have the document reference number from the registration certificate (V5C), which any honest dealer would be happy to provide you with, and there you can see the MOT history of the car (since computerised MOTs), including the mileage when that MOT was done. So any discrepancy would be revealed.

Why have VOSA chosen not to reveal any discrepancies on a new certificate, maybe the difference is OK (replacement speedo), maybe it isn't (clocked car). What about if someone has only removed the last 12 months 100,000 mileage, so it is not less than last year. How would you phrase any statement on the MOT certificate that was meaningful and didn't engage the MOT test centre in an argument with the owner of a clocked/not-clocked car, and didn't leave VOSA open to being sued. And they probably would argue the mileage is available on-line if you want to look at it and come to your own conclusion.
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# 15
kate.2000
Old 23-09-2009, 5:01 PM
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Understood - I now know that you can view this online. I now know this is necessary even when purchasing from a dealer - but many people are not aware that this is necessary and leaves the door open for confusion and exploitation. Surely a list of previous MOT mileages would not be too much trouble on an MOT - and if there is a discrepency even a note to say why or even unaware why - would put people in the know to ask more questions.

The MOT was the only paper given to me by the dealer that was not stapled shut. As most people keep their MOT to hand, any mileage discrepency (if recorded) would be likely to be spotted quickly. I think it would be really hard to sell a car with clocked mileage if it was shown on an MOT certificate. If it was just a case of the odometer being replaced - then the car seller (private or dealer) would have no problem with someone doing a check on the car - only someone selling a dodgy car would have a problem with a car being checked out!
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# 16
Altarf
Old 23-09-2009, 5:57 PM
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Listing the mileages from previous tests on the current certificate, with no comment or explanation (that could be misinterpreted), just a statement of fact, is a good idea. I would guess that the reason it isn't there, is that the current computerised system just replicated the previous paper system which didn't (and couldn't) have it, so it wasn't added.
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# 17
movilogo
Old 24-09-2009, 11:32 AM
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Quote:
the interior of a car that has done 104k would not be in a very good condition.
In a well maintained car, you'd struggle to judge how much mileage it has covered without looking into odometer. A 200k mileage car interior might appear far better than a 20k mileage car!!

Last edited by movilogo; 24-09-2009 at 11:34 AM.
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# 18
Altarf
Old 24-09-2009, 11:57 AM
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No matter how well looked after, if you are comparing a 200k against a 20k car the 200k car will more likely have a shiny steering wheel and gear knob, worn pedal rubbers, very sad looking drivers seat, etc.
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# 19
Freddie_Snowbits
Old 24-09-2009, 12:51 PM
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Every car I have bought it says they cannot guarantee the mileage.

Even the car I have now shows only 45,000 miles on the clock which is good, but I now the speedo was exchanged at 15,000 miles. caveat emptor and tuff
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