A hidden car trader from Antrim pleaded guilty to three charges under The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 today at Ballymena Magistrates' Court.
He was fined £765.00 and ordered to pay compensation in the sum of £1,000 to the complainant.
In a case brought by the Department for the Economy’s Trading Standards Service, Mr Flavius Preda (29) pleaded guilty to three charges under Regulations 5 and 12 of The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
The investigation followed a complaint from a consumer that he had bought a car from a man in Antrim which he later discovered was ‘clocked’. At the time of the sale, the mileage on the car odometer was 116,000 miles. Evidence obtained shows that the vehicle had travelled at least 216,000 miles. This consumer, a registered disabled pensioner, was misled by a trader (posing as a private seller) as to the true mileage of the car he was sold; he was misled by the reading on the vehicle's odometer, the gumtree advertisement and an MOT certificate that was supplied with the vehicle.
Andrina Kelly of the Trading Standards Service said: “Car traders have a responsibility to ensure that all descriptions applied to vehicles are truthful and not misleading to consumers. It is the duty of the trader to ensure that checks are conducted on vehicles and the onus is on the trader to satisfy themselves that the mileage of a vehicle is accurate and also to provide the consumer with all material information regarding the vehicle.”
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 (V5 form), 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, accident and outstanding finance 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 MOTs. 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.
Anyone who believes they have been sold goods which have been falsely described should contact Consumerline on 0300 123 6262.
Notes to editors:
1. The Trading Standards Service investigates potential criminal offences relating to misdescribed cars under The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and The Fraud Act 2006. It is an offence under The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 for a motor trader to mislead consumers verbally/via advertisement/odometer/paperwork in respect of the mileage of a vehicle. It is also an offence under said legislation for a trader to conceal the fact that he/she is a trader.
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