Car clocker jailed for nine months

* OFT cracks down on 580m clocking trade * Car clocking boss jailed for nine months * 71 companies under scrutiny...

Car clocker jailed for nine months

A professional car clocker has been jailed after an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

Colin Michael Ogle, a Swindon-based trader, was sentenced by Swindon Crown Court to nine months in prison after pleading guilty to charges under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and the Fraud Act 2006.

The OFT found that Ogles mileage-correction business had reset the odometers (known as 'clocking') of up to 100 vehicles without taking the proper steps to ask clients why this was necessary.

This is the first time that the 'clocker', rather than the seller of the clocked car, has been convicted under consumer law.

Sentencing Ogle, the judge, said: 'Consumers rely on mileage when making purchasing decisions. The clocking of cars corrupts the market and brings unjustified suspicion on honest traders.'

The ruling marks a tougher stance by the OFT on those who tamper with cars odometers a practice that costs car buyers 580 million a year.

According to vehicle history experts at HPI, clocking affects more than one in 20 of the seven million used cars sold each year.

Together with Trading Standards, the OFT is also monitoring 71 websites that offer mileage-correction services. They have been warned they risk prosecution if they dont 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 to those adjusting car mileages that they face prison if they break the law.

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Emma Butcher