News item

Car trader fined for clocking cars

A Newtownabbey car dealer was today fined a total of £1,000 plus £98 costs at Belfast’s Laganside Magistrates’ Court. Compensation orders of £375 and £400 were awarded to the purchasers of the cars.

In a case brought by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment’s Trading Standards Service, Roy Martin John Smiley who previously traded as CT Autos, 571 Doagh Road, Newtownabbey, pleaded guilty to two charges under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

It was discovered that CT Autos sold a consumer a 2007 Citroen C1 Vibe with an odometer reading of approximately 67,000 miles whereas enquiries by Trading Standards revealed that the car had travelled in excess of 92,236 miles.

Another consumer was sold a 2002 Seat Alhambra with approximately 110,000 miles on its clock. However enquiries revealed it had travelled at least 174,051 miles. Both consumers were oblivious to the true mileage travelled by their vehicle.

Peter Rankin, Trading Standards Officer said: "This was a blatant attempt to mislead consumers by selling the cars with reduced odometer readings.

“The practice of reducing a vehicle’s odometer reading is carried out solely for profit. It is a practice that maims both consumers and motor dealers. Consumers may well find the condition of the vehicle with a false mileage to be much worse than they expect and this could lead to unexpected expense further down the line. Honest dealers are at a commercial disadvantage as a car with a correct mileage is generally more expensive than an identical model which has been 'clocked' to the same mileage. In this case the seller knew about the higher mileages but made no effort to tell prospective buyers of the true facts.”

Peter Rankin concluded: "The penalty in this case should serve as a warning to traders that they should ensure that cars they sell are correctly described in advertisements and during negotiations with potential buyers. Failure to do so can result in a fine, with the maximum fine for each offence being £5,000."

Notes to editors:

1. 'Car clocking' is common terminology for the activity of turning a car’s mileage reading back illegally. A car’s mileage is one of the factors which influence a potential purchaser’s decision to buy and the final price they will be willing to pay.

2. The Trading Standards Service investigate possible offences relating to clocked cars under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. Anyone who believes that they have purchased goods or services that have been misdescribed should contact Consumerline on 0300 123 6262 or log on to

3. For press enquiries contact DETI Press Office on tel: 028 9052 9604. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.