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Car mileage: MEPs want action to combat odometer fraud, restore confidence in second-hand car market

Mileage readings should be registered more often, to help detect tampering

MEPs have called on the European Commission to tackle used car odometer fraud more effectively.

About 5 to 12 percent of used cars sold inside EU countries and 30 to 50 percent of those sold across borders within the EU have had their mileage tampered with, said rapporteur Ismail Ertug (S&D, DE).

“We had broad agreement on this report and in particular on the need for national odometer databases with cross-border data exchange and for manufacturers to step up their efforts on odometer security.”

“If the EU Commission turns our recommendations into draft laws, it could provide an annual benefit of six to nine billion euros and restore consumers' trust in the used car market, while also contributing to road safety. This is a great opportunity to demonstrate true European added value by protecting consumers”, he added.

MEPs want a new set of rules that includes national mileage data registers, to be made accessible across borders. Buyers of a used car should be able to verify the accuracy of its odometer reading, regardless of the EU country in which it was previously registered, they add.

Register mileage data more often to detect fraud

The MEPs in their report said recording odometer readings should be mandatory at each periodic technical inspection, each inspection, service, maintenance operation and repair carried out, and at every other garage visit, starting with the vehicle’s first registration.

They pointed out that in Belgium and the Netherlands, where readings are collected more frequently than elsewhere, odometer fraud has been almost eradicated.

Further effort from the car industry

MEPs also asked the EU Commission to monitor how manufacturers give effect to the tamper-protection strategies required by current EU rules and to set clear criteria for effectively checking that odometers are tamper-proof.

Even though tampering has a negative impact on road safety, only six EU countries recognise “odometer manipulation” as a criminal offence, MEPs observed. They insisted other EU countries need to do so. 

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