A Limavady motor trader was fined a total of £200 and ordered to pay compensation of £630 at Antrim Magistrates’ Court for selling a clocked car to a Saintfield consumer.
In a case brought by the Trading Standards Service of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Thomas James O’Connor (50) pleaded guilty to two charges under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
This investigation was initiated after a complaint was made to the Trading Standards Service (TSS). The complainant alleged that a Peugeot 207 motor car was advertised, on the Gumtree internet website, with a false mileage indication. The advertisement stated that the mileage was 76,000. In fact the car, previously owned by a driving instructor, had travelled in the region of 142,000 miles.
Investigations by the Trading Standards Service also revealed that the seller had advertised 30 vehicles on the Gumtree website, over a two year period.
Eamon Mc Partland of the Trading Standards Service said: “Car dealers must ensure that all descriptions applied to vehicles are truthful. Additionally, they must not leave out anything important that might affect a consumer’s decision to buy a car. They must also ensure that, in their advertisements, consumers are left in no doubt that they are dealing with a motor trader. In this case, Mr O’ Connor’s behaviour in the sale of the vehicle fell well short of the trading practices expected of traders selling used cars to consumers.”
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 that 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 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.
- 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 goods which have been falsely described should contact Consumerline on 0300 123 6262.