Big Fine For Selling Un-roadworthy Cars

Second-hand car dealer fined £46,000 for selling un-roadworthy cars.

A successful prosecution by Central Bedfordshire Council’s Public Protection team has seen a Dunstable second hand car business and manager being ordered to pay a total of £46, 670 after pleading guilty to offences in relation to the selling of second hand motor vehicles to members of the public.

Shaah Brothers Ltd, trading as SB Motors, of Tavistock Street, Dunstable, and manager Mr Syed Kamal Shaah of 5A Sundon Road, Streatley, Luton, both pleaded guilty at Luton Magistrates Court.

The offences included the selling of un-roadworthy motor vehicles, failing to carry out reasonable pre-sale mechanical/ history and/or mileage checks, obstructing consumers from returning faulty motor vehicles by failing to deal with complaints in an honest and professional manner and/ or imposing administration charges before granting refunds, providing false information in relation to vehicle service history, value, length of MOT and or mileage, and failing to notify consumers about significant vehicle details such as serious faults, log book fees and whether the vehicles had been registered as insurance write offs.

The offences took place between 6 November 2011 and 16 March 2012. One couple purchased a Ford Focus, which they later found out was previously a category C insurance write off, and was missing a hand brake mechanism. Their complaint was not dealt with by the company.

The council’s Trading Standards Service had the car examined by an expert vehicle examiner, who stated that the car had been sold in an un-roadworthy and dangerous condition. Another Ford Focus sold was also deemed to be un-roadworthy and a mechanic stated that it was dangerous to drive.

A different customer who returned a faulty vehicle was persuaded into replacing the vehicle for a vehicle she was told was of the same value. She later found out that her replacement was actually priced at £306 cheaper than her first purchase. On complaining she was told that she could not have a refund without incurring charges amounting to £300.

Councillor Brian Spurr, Executive Member for Sustainable Communities, Services said: "Buying a car is a substantial purchase for many people and if things go wrong it can be very stressful for the consumer - especially if they are subsequently treated unfairly by the trader.”

"Whatever the price of the car, consumers should expect that their new purchase is both safe and roadworthy. It is irresponsible and completely unacceptable for car traders to attempt to sell dangerous vehicles to the public."

Trading Standards Manager Jo Borthwick added: "The level of the fine shows how seriously the Courts take such matters. The Trading Standards Service will continue to take action to prevent the sale of potentially dangerous and un-roadworthy vehicles, helping to ensure consumers aren't deceived into buying cars that could be worthless and potentially lethal to drive".