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Londonderry car dealer given three months Suspended Sentence

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A Londonderry motor trader was today sentenced to three months imprisonment suspended for two years in the Londonderry Magistrates’ Court and ordered to pay a car buyer £1400 compensation.

In a case brought by the Trading Standards Service of the Department for the Economy, Mr. Sean Paul Barr of The Old Fort, Strathfoyle, Londonderry, pleaded guilty to a charge under the Fraud Act 2006 for dishonestly making a false representation in respect of a car’s mileage indication, which was reduced from 166,000 miles to 93,000. The offence related to the sale of a “clocked” Ford Mondeo.

In addition, Barr fraudulently gave the buyer the name and address of a totally innocent third party when he presented the clocked car for sale.

Under the Fraud Act 2006 it is an offence to falsely misrepresent the mileage on a motor vehicle.

Eamon McPartland of the Trading Standards Service said: “Car dealers have a responsibility to ensure that all descriptions applied to vehicles are truthful and are not misleading to consumers.  Traders must therefore provide consumers with all material information regarding a vehicle.  It is the duty of the trader to ensure all important checks are conducted on vehicles and that all important information is made known to the potential buyer to allow them to make an informed decision on whether or not to buy the car.”

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 pay cash to somebody don’t know.

Anyone who believes they have been sold goods which have been falsely described should contact Consumerline on 0300 123 6262.

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