30 Nov 17

EU study recommends Car-Pass to combat mileage fraud

In some EU countries, mileage fraud affects up to 50% of all second-hand cars sold, a report by the European Parliament's Transport and Tourism Committee (TRAN) says. The report calls for concerted action to root out tampering with odometers – and cites Belgium and the Netherlands as examples. 

Mileage fraud involves tampering with a vehicle's odometer so it indicates a much lower mileage than it has actually driven. This allows nefarious traders to sell these used vehicles at higher prices. 

Negative impact
Consumers risk buying vehicles with more wear and tear than advertised, which could cost them dearly in repairs or replacement vehicles. But mileage fraud also has a negative impact on road safety, and on the environment, the TRAN study says.  

Analysing data from the past seven years, the study finds that the technical means to combat mileage fraud do exist. The study points to Car-Pass in Belgium, and a similar system in the Netherlands, which have drastically reduced mileage fraud, and which it says should inspire other EU member states to take similar action. 

Five recommendations
But the TRAN report also calls on the European Union itself to take steps to combat mileage fraud. The reports's five main recommendations are as follows:

→ A first technical check-up of the vehicle should happen before the four-year limit currently required by EU law. 
→ EU law should require, or at least recommend, that mileage be registered, not just at the time of the first check-up, but also whenever the vehicle goes in for maintenance, repair or any other type of technical intervention. It is precisely this requirement that makes Car-Pass so successful, the study points out. 

→ Other EU member states should take the example of Belgium and the Netherlands and implement a similarly effective system to prevent mileage fraud, but adapted to their local market and legislation. 

→ Genuine mileage data should follow the vehicle even in case of cross-border sale, with EU-wide systems like the already existing EUCARIS platform being used to exchange the information. Here as well, Belgium and the Netherlands are providing the example to follow. 

→ Vehicle manufacturers should develop and implement technical solutions that make odometer tampering much harder for fraudsters. The efficiency of these solutions should be evaluated after a number of years. 

“Billions too much”
“This is yet another study that shows how widespread mileage fraud remains within the European Union – and that confirms that tampering with odometers can be countered with relatively simple measures”, says Michel Peelman, CEO of Car-Pass. “If those measures were effectively taken, their cumulative effect would be to eradicate mileage fraud across national borders as well. The EU should get to work on this in 2018! Until then, Europe's used-car buyers will continue to pay billions of euros too much for their vehicles”. 

Mileage fraud is one of the subjects of this year's Fleet Europe Remarketing Forum (5 December at Estoril, Portugal). The Remarketing Forum kicks off the Fleet Europe Summit (5-6 December). Follow the proceedings on Twitter via #FleetEuropeSummit.

Authored by: Frank Jacobs