A Ballymena car salesman who sold a ‘clocked’ car was today given a four month sentence suspended for three years and ordered to pay £800 compensation to the consumer at Ballymena Magistrates Court.
In a case brought by the Trading Standards Service of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Mr Anthony Kinney (26) of Dunvale, Ballymena pleaded guilty to one charge under the Fraud Act 2006.
The case followed a complaint from a consumer who alleged that an Audi A4 car sold to him by Anthony Kinney, a salesman employed by SDK Motors, Moorfields Road, Ballymena had been ‘clocked’. A consumer purchased the car from these premises in August 2013. Subsequent investigation revealed that the car, which was sold to the consumer by Mr Kinney with 113,000 miles, had actually travelled in excess of 157,000 miles when it was sold – a difference in value of approximately £800.
Mr Kinney stated that he had changed the odometer in the car and admitted selling the car to a consumer without telling him that the mileage reading was incorrect. He also failed to mention the fact that he was not selling the car on behalf of SDK Motors and that it was actually a “private” sale sold from the premises without his employer’s knowledge. He had numerous opportunities to tell the consumer that the mileage was incorrect but he failed to do this and was happy to take the extra money he received.
Angela Gilliland of the Trading Standards Service said: “The Department views the clocking and selling of ‘clocked’ cars very seriously indeed and we will not hesitate in bringing those responsible before the courts. Anyone who knowingly sells a car with incorrect mileage on the odometer and fails to disclose this may face court action for fraud offences. This applies to both car dealers and private individuals.”
Trading Standards offers the following advice when buying a used car:
- Buy from a reputable dealer: Vehicles may cost more when bought from a main dealer but they will have carried out checks on the vehicle’s history before offering cars for sale.
- Bring someone with you who is knowledgeable regarding 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 of 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 numbers of a vehicle, you can contact the Driver Vehicle Agency to enquire about the recorded mileage of the vehicle at its 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 and never pay cash to somebody you don’t know
Anyone who believes they have been sold a car with incorrect mileage should contact Consumerline on 0300 123 6262 or log on to the website.