February the 2nd, 2024 – If you’re a 90s kid like me, you’ll probably remember that scene in Matilda where Danny DeVito, playing her swindling car salesman father, sneakily winds the mileage back on a car. Known as car clocking, it’s punishable all over the world, but the Croatian car clocking prison sentence is among the harshest.
As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, CarVertical, a car data processing company, conducted research spanning 22 countries across Europe and across the pond in the USA to see how local authorities treat mileage fraud, known as car clocking, and what sort of laws are being enforced regarding the practice.
A custodial sentence is a possible outcome for car clocking in 16 of the 22 analysed countries. The punishment for Croatian car clocking leads the way with the highest possible sentence of all of the countries studied – up to eight years behind bars.
In neighbouring Serbia, there’s no special law directly related to car clocking, and I’ll leave my personal comments out of the irony of this (however difficult I’m finding it). In Poland, fraudsters can receive a prison sentence of up to five years, in the Czech Republic, Lithuania and France – two years, and in Germany and Hungary – car clockers can expect to face prison time of up to one year.
3.5 percent of the cars checked on CarVertical in Croatia had been clocked; in Serbia, that percentage stood at a higher 5.3 percent. In Hungary, the number of clocked cars stood at 6.1 percent, which suggests that the current legislation in Hungary isn’t doing much, if anything, to prevent violators from continuing to engage in this practice.
“There’s unfortunately no single legal system to combat car clocking. If all of the citizens of every EU Member State had the same legislation when it comes to this, it would lead to a long-term solution to this pressing problem. At the moment, some countries don’t take it as seriously as others do, and that’s one of the paradoxes facing global organisations,” explained Matas Buzelis, head of communications and an automotive expert at CarVertical.