The DVLA's removal of previous keeper information from V5 log books could lead to an increase in fraud for used vehicles, according to Cap HPI.
The DVLA has made the move with immediate effect, in line with obligations to protect consumers' personal data as laid out in recent GDPR legislation. Existing V5c documents will remain unaffected until updated and reissued, at which point previous keeper details will be taken off.
However, Cap HPI warns that there could be intended financial consequences on the dealer network and wider automotive industry.
Due diligence processes for dealers involve conducting mileage investigations before purchasing a vehicle, reducing risks to finances and their company reputation as a result of a tampered odometer.
With the DVLA's move to limit V5C information to including only the current keeper, all industry suppliers must go through an extra step of contacting the DVLA to investigate previous keeper details – a process for which DVLA charges a fee.
Cap HPI believes the market will see an increase in vehicle fraud as a result, citing HPI Check data showing one in 16 vehicles have a mileage discrepancy, one in three have a hidden problem and one in five has had a plate change.
Wendy Swaine, head of retail at Cap HPI, said: “We appreciate the DVLA will be mindful of more stringent data protection legislation recently introduced. However, the change has many impacts on the way in which a mileage investigation is conducted as part of a HPI check or comprehensive manufacturer approved check. This change could have broader implications for the dealer network.
“With the potential of increased cost to dealers, there is a risk that some may opt to forego a mileage investigation, opening themselves up to accidentally making a risky purchase, and then potentially being hit by the reputational damage to their business when the fraud is uncovered.
“It’s potentially a double whammy for dealers, the industry and the consumer, which is why we are urging the DVLA to look at the wider ramifications.”
However, a spokesman for the Government agency responded, saying: "There is no reason why removing the previous keeper from the V5C should result in an increase in fraud involving used vehicles.
"The law allows the DVLA to provide previous keeper details in order to assist mileage companies to investigate where mileage fraud is suspected. This process has not changed with the removal of the previous keeper details from the V5C.
"We believe the processes in place strike the correct balance between protecting the personal data of our customers while maintaining the availability of information about vehicles to those with a legitimate right to receive it."
The spokesman explained that the MOT status of a car, including its mileage data, can be obtained by checking www.gov.uk/check-mot-history.