Branning’s car clocking con could get him banged-up

HPI highlights the dangers of buying a clocked car, as seen on EastEnders

HPI, the provider of the HPI Check, is warning used car buyers to beware of fraudsters, turning back theclock on a vehicle’s mileage as highlighted in the current EastEnders storyline. Motor dealer Max Branning and car mechanic Ben Mitchell have struck a deal to ‘clock’ cars that Max is currently selling from the used car lot ‘Deals on Wheels’.  

1 in 20 vehicles checked by HPI every day has a mileage discrepancy. On average, a clocked car could cost an innocent buyer £1,497 more than its true value. Following the EastEnders spotlight on the practice of car clocking, HPI is urging people looking to buy used cars that they make sure they know the hidden history by visiting before parting with any money.

Neil Hodson, Managing Director for HPI comments: “Clocking is not just a TV soap storyline, it’s avery real threat to car buyers. Interestingly, altering a car’s mileage is not illegal but not declaring that mileage change to a potential buyer when selling on the vehicle definitely is, as highlighted in Britain’s favourite soap. Sadly, true life unscrupulous sellers see the clocking of a vehicle as an easy way to raise its price and make some extra cash by putting thousands of pounds onto the price tag.” is continuing the battle against so-called ‘clockers’ with its ePetition calling to close down mileage corrections firms that are believed to be fuelling fraudulent activity. Mileage correction firms claim to offer a service to amend a vehicle’s mileage for legitimate reasons; however a report by the Office of Fair Trading (OfT) concluded that there were very few legitimate reasons for a vehicle’s mileage to be altered, despite there being over 50 companies offering such a service in theUK*.

“Sadly, there are real life characters similar to the Brannings and Mitchell’s in the world, so beware. Ensuring you buy from a reputable car dealer is one way to avoid being caught out,” continues Neil Hodson.  “But if you are buying privately we would always recommend carrying out an HPI Check, that way you can be sure the mileage is not going in reverse.”


  • Check the service history – Check the mileages displayed in the service history and look for service stamps from a genuine dealer.  Ideally the service invoices will accompany the service history. If in doubt, contact the servicing dealers and check the mileages they recorded at the time of the service.
  • Speak to the previous keeper – Get in contact with the previous keeper (details can be found on theV5/logbook). They can identify the mileage of the vehicle when they sold it. Make sure this adds up with the current mileage.
  • Trust your judgement – Check who the car was last registered to on the V5.  Was it registered as acompany car but has done less than 12,000 miles per year?  Or is it 15 years old with only 20,000 on theclock? Look for any evidence that indicates clocking.
  • Check the mileage – It has been known for clockers to wind back the mileage when you first view thevehicle and then return it to its original value once the transaction is complete. Make sure you check the mileage is the same when you pick up the vehicle.
  • Look for signs of wear and tear – Does the wear and tear on the vehicle match its mileage?  Becareful to look out for signs such as worn seats, steering wheels and other vehicle parts. Also look out for brand new easily replaceable parts; the wear and tear should be consistent with the vehicle’s displayed mileage.
  • Conduct an HPI Check – HPI’s National Mileage Register has over 170 million mileages recorded on it, and can identify mileage discrepancies recorded against the vehicle.

*Many of these signs could be innocent, so look for more than one of the above as possible evidence of clocking.

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