Mileage correction services provider: investigation and prosecution
Office of Fair Trading (OFT) closed consumer enforcement case.
Case reference: CRE-E/26641
Investigation against: Colin Michael Ogle t/a Swindon Decodes
Issue: Investigation and conviction of a mileage correction services provider
Relevant instruments: Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, Fraud Act 2006
On 15 October 2012 Colin Michael Ogle pleaded guilty to five charges under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 ('CPRs') and eight charges under the Fraud Act 2006. He also admitted a further 19 offences to be taken into consideration when sentenced. On 21 November 2012 at Swindon Crown Court Mr Ogle was sentenced to nine months' imprisonment and £3,649.20 costs. The OFT believes that this is the first time that the provider of mileage correction services has been convicted under consumer law.
In February 2011 the OFT launched a criminal investigation into Colin Michael Ogle, suspected of unlawfully adjusting mileage. In April 2011 the OFT carried out an inspection at the premises of the Swindon based business run by Mr Ogle, in an operation involving South West Regional Scambusters Team and Wiltshire Police. Thereafter Mr Ogle was arrested.
On 29 November 2011, the OFT laid charges against Mr Ogle pursuant to Regulation 6 of the CPRs 2008 and section 2 of the Fraud Act 2006.
This investigation was opened following the publication of the OFT's market study into second hand cars in March 2010 which estimated the potential loss to consumers of illegal car clocking to be up to £580m per year. The OFT concluded that, in certain circumstances, the business practices of mileage correction service providers may breach the CPRs. The market study also stated that to avoid prosecution mileage correction businesses would need to show that they had taken all reasonable precautions and exercised all due diligence to avoid the commission of an offence.
Whilst there has been active enforcement against those who deal in 'clocked' cars the activities of those who do not sell on clocked cars but change car odometers to show incorrect mileage readings has rarely been pursued thereby creating the false impression that their activities were legal, and that no enforcement action would be taken against them. Following the publication of the market study the OFT prioritised enforcement action against mileage correction services.
The OFT has conducted a further online review of businesses advertising mileage correction services and is working closely with local Trading Standards Services to ensure that the identified traders are made aware of their responsibilities and understand that they run the risk of prosecution if they do not comply with consumer law.
- Press release Owner of mileage correction business jailed for car clocking (22 November 2012)
- press release OFT announces criminal charges in mileage adjustment investigation (30 November 2011)
- OFT second hand cars market study
- Press release OFT announces criminal charges in mileage adjustment investigation (30 November 2011)