Cloning of cars is a growing problem in Denmark, and it has major consequences for those who come into possession of a cloned car.
What is a cloned car?
A car has an identification number called a vehicle registration number. A vehicle registration number can be compared to a CPR number. By looking up the vehicle registration number, you can obtain information about, for example, when the car checked if it complied to current regulations, who is registered as the owner of the car, and whether the car is encumbered with debt. If a car has been cloned, this means that the car's original serial number has been removed and that the car appears with another car's serial number, typically from the same manufacturer and model. The car has therefore been given a "false identity". Car cloning is typically used to hide stolen cars. This is done by removing the stolen car's original registration number from the car. After this, the thief will typically find a car abroad of the same brand and model and copy its registration number onto the stolen car and typically also falsify the registration certificate. The car is then driven for inspection and in this way, the car will have acquired a new identity and can thus be resold to a dealer who is unaware that it is a stolen car.
Challenges regarding cloned cars
Regardless of whether the buyer of a cloned car is a dealer or a private individual, it can be incredibly difficult to detect whether it is a cloned car. If a dealer comes into possession of a cloned car and resells it, this can have major financial consequences, even if the dealer was unaware that the car was cloned. This is because the dealer has, in principle, resold a car of which the dealer was not the rightful owner. The buyer of the cloned car will therefore be able to claim compensation. The dealer then bears the financial loss. The dealer will be entitled to recover the claim against the seller from whom the dealer bought the car, but they can be difficult to find, and if the sellers are found, they often turn out to be insolvent, meaning they cannot pay. If you come into possession of a cloned car, it is important to report it to the police, so that they can try to track down the person behind the cloned car. Although the police are working to track down the culprits behind cloned cars, not everyone is caught. This is, among other things, due to the fact that the Danish police, due to an EU reservation, do not have direct access to the common European register, where you can see if a car has been reported stolen in another EU country. The Danish police must therefore apply to get the information, which complicates the process.
How to avoid getting into possession of a cloned car
If you buy a used car, it is important to inspect the car thoroughly and at the same time investigate whether the vehicle registration number may have been tampered with. This applies regardless of whether the car is bought from an authorized dealer or from a private person. The car thieves are often good at hiding the original vehicle number, and it can therefore be difficult, even for professionals, to detect. It is therefore also a good idea to ask about the car's history. If the vehicle registration number is in a different place than where it can normally be found, it can be an indicator that the car has been cloned. There are various methods that can help prevent and detect cloned cars. Among other things, there is a register where a vehicle registration number can be looked up, after which you can receive a report which will indicate whether it may be a cloned car.
Bremer Advokater's comments
The increasing problem with cloned cars means that leasing companies and car dealers risk getting into trouble and suffering a financial loss. It is therefore important that you protect yourself as best as possible to avoid coming into possession of a cloned car. If you should still come into possession of a cloned car, it is important that you inform the police as soon as possible so that they can track down the person behind it. At Bremer Advokater, we have extensive experience with cloned cars. If you are in a situation where you are having challenges with cloned cars, you are welcome to contact us on tel. 70 23 70 50. We are ready to help you.
: January 3rd, 2023
: Anna Lundvig
: Asger Søderberg