A motor trader from Coagh, Co Tyrone was today fined a total of £1,000 at Dungannon Magistrates’ Court for selling a vehicle to a consumer without disclosing that it had been damaged in an accident. Compensation of £2,593 was also awarded to the purchaser of the vehicle.
In a case brought by the Department for the Economy’s Trading Standards Service, Mr Samuel Nigel Ferguson (56) trading as Ferguson Motors, Drumconvis Road, Coagh, County Tyrone, pleaded guilty to one charge under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
The investigation followed a complaint from a consumer who had experienced multiple mechanical problems and costly repairs for a vehicle he had purchased from Mr Ferguson. The investigation revealed that the vehicle had been declared a Category D insurance loss. Mr Ferguson did not inform the consumer of this fact.
Charlene Conlon of the Trading Standards Service said: “Consumers should be provided with accurate information to help them make informed decisions when purchasing goods, particularly expensive items such as cars. The onus is on the trader to provide this information to the consumer whether it is requested or not. Important information regarding extensive accident damage and the history of a vehicle should not be withheld by car dealers. Traders should also not mislead consumers by applying false descriptions to goods.”
Anyone who believes they have been sold goods which have been misdescribed in any way should contact Consumerline on 0300 123 6262.
The Trading Standards Service offers the following advice when buying a car:
- Buy from a reputable dealer. Vehicles may cost more when bought from a dealer but they will have carried out checks on a vehicle’s history before offering cars for sale.
- Bring someone with you who knows about cars. Excessive wear and tear on the driver’s seat, steering wheel and foot pedals may be inconsistent with the indicated mileage.
- Ensure that you see all the relevant original paperwork, the logbook, the car’s service history and MOT certificates. With this information, you can contact the previous owners of the vehicle as well as the garages that carried out the servicing work to ask questions about the history of the vehicle. Everything should be present and correct. If it is not, simply walk away from the deal.
- Carry out an online vehicle mileage and accident check before you buy the car
- If you know the registration and chassis number of a vehicle, you can contact the Driver Vehicle Agency to enquire about the recorded mileage of the vehicle at previous MOT’s. The chassis number is visible on the bottom left corner of most car windscreens.
- If buying from a “private” seller, get proof of the seller’s name and address.
- Finally, never buy a car from the side of a road or pay cash to somebody you don’t know.
Notes to editors:
- The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 creates criminal offences for traders who mislead by action or by omission.
- For media enquiries, please contact the DfE Press Office on 028 9052 9604. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110.
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