Exactly - this is their choice, the law put upon them just says if they can't confirm it then they should make it aware to you the buyer (so if this car has a sticker in it somewhere, job done) and its practically impossible to attach liability to, again, without concrete PROOF but as the rules are so wooly thats hard to get. Its one of those 'as far as is practical to do' jobs. They have to verify the mileage to the best of their knowledge, and if they can't then not market the car on the mileage. Regarding a second hand car that means if the dealer has a couple of MOT's or otherwise, and the person he got it from said 'yup its genuine' - and the dealer has no reason not to believe him - thats it! He has no legal duty to check through some other means, just a couple of clauses in the RMIF code of practice drawn up by the Retail Motor Industry Federation, the Scottish Motor Trade Association and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders in consultation with the Director General of Fair Trading.
points 7&8 of which state:
Reasonable steps will be taken to verify the recorded mileage of a used car and dealers will use their best endeavours to obtain a signed statement from the previous owner as to the car's mileage. Dealers should pass on any known facts about an odometer reading to a prospective customer.
Unless the dealer is satisfied that the quoted mileage of a used car in accurate, such mileage should not be quoted in advertisements, discussions or negotiations or in any documents related to the supply of the used car. Where the car's mileage cannot be verified the customer should be informed. The law requires that any disclaimer used must be bold, precise and compelling as the car's mileage reading itself and as effectively brought to the prospective customer's attention.
So again, basically if you want to take this to court with a dealer you got a car from and the dealer says I took all reasonable steps to verify it with what I had, then he is in the clear - and I have yet to meet a dealer who says "I don't have any paperwork and the mileage is well above what it say on the clock - infact I wouldn't take it as read that its not been wound back" :-)
If you are buying and can't verify it satisfactorily walk away and don't use the dealer. If you are selling it add as much clout as you can to prove the miles.
If you see your car advertised for less miles than you know its got.... maybe go see the dealer and ask them how this can be!?
If you believe the vehicle was sold with a false mileage reading, you should report the dealer to Consumer Direct on 0845 404 0506, or visit www.consumerdirect.gov.uk
. In Northern Ireland, phone Consumerline on 0845 600 6262, or visit www.consumerline.org