Cloning dan­ger

Rutherglen Reformer - - Drivetime Extra -

Pri­vate mo­torists are keen to put their per­sonal stamp on their car.

They pur­chase per­son­alised num­ber plates to re­flect their name or nick­name, life sta­tus - or sim­ply hide the true age of the ve­hi­cle - and they aren’t afraid to spend big bucks to get the de­sired dig­its.

In fact, the prici­est plate ever sold by the DVLA1 was for the num­ber plate ‘25 O’, which sold for a whop­ping £518,000. The plate was pur­chased by a Fer­rari dealer and is be­lieved to be on a Fer­rari 250SWB, once owned by Eric Clap­ton. How­ever, ve­hi­cle prove­nance check ex­pert, HPI, warns that cars with a plate trans­fer can of­ten be hid­ing some­thing sin­is­ter.

Anal­y­sis of HPI checks con­ducted in 20142, has re­vealed that 1 in 5 cars checked have un­der­gone a plate trans­fer. The top 5 types of cars which are most likely to have un­der­gone a plate change are ‘Per­for­mance Cars & Hot Hatches’, which top the list with 56% fol­lowed by ‘Road­sters & Cabri­o­lets’ at 42%. Coupes come in third at 41%. 4x4’s and ex­ec­u­tive cars also make the list at 39% and 37% re­spec­tively.

Whilst many of these plate changes have been made in­no­cently to per­son­alise a ve­hi­cle, it is only once a prove­nance check has been car­ried out that used car buy­ers can rest as­sured that they know the true iden­tity of the ve­hi­cle.

Neil Hod­son, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor for HPI, ex­plains: “Whilst they can be a great gift or pur­chase to stand out from the crowd, it is re­ally im­por­tant that used car buy­ers recog­nise that per­son­alised plates can be hid­ing more than they may think. For ex­am­ple, the ve­hi­cle may be a stolen car, which has had a le­git­i­mate num­ber plate ap­plied to con­ceal its stolen sta­tus. This is com­monly known as car cloning. Buy­ers can find them­selves out of pocket if they have mis­tak­enly pur­chased a stolen car, as the po­lice can re­move the ve­hi­cle from their pos­ses­sion, re­sult­ing in them los­ing both the car and the cash they paid for it.”

The HPI Check ® of­fers a £ 30,000 Guar­an­tee in the event of the in­for­ma­tion it pro­vides be­ing in­ac­cu­rate - of­fer­ing added fi­nan­cial peace of mind to used car buy­ers. Cru­cially, it is the only ve­hi­cle prove­nance check to in­clude clone cover as stan­dard within its Guar­an­tee.

Neil Hod­son con­cludes: “The HPI Check will cross-ref­er­ence the Ve­hi­cle Reg­is­tra­tion Mark (VRM) and the Ve­hi­cle Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Num­ber (VIN), match­ing them against the ve­hi­cle’s of­fi­cial history to see if it cor­re­lates. It also searches its own ar­chives go­ing as far back as 1990, to see if any­thing un­to­ward pre­vi­ously hap­pened to the ve­hi­cle .”

Pop­u­lar plates are of­ten used to dis­guise a ve­hi­cle’s age

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