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August 9, 2017 - 11:40

A car trader has been prosecuted after selling an unsafe vehicle to a consumer from a garage in East Knighton, near Wareham.

ALM Vehicle Sales Ltd, trading as ‘Rainbow Car Sales’, and its Director Adrian Mortiboys (aged 50, of Wellington Road, Bournemouth) were sentenced on 19 June at Weymouth Magistrates’ Court after each pleading guilty to selling an unroadworthy car contrary to the Road Traffic Act 1988 and two further offences of misdescribing the car contrary to consumer protection regulations.

Despite having a badly corroded sub-frame and broken rear suspension coil, the Alfa Romeo 159 vehicle was misdescribed as a “lovely drive superb throughout” and a statement on the customer’s invoice, “trade sale, no warranty, sold as spares and repairs”, was misleading as to customers’ legal rights.

The company and Director Mortiboys, who handled the sale, were each fined £1,050 and ordered to pay a pay prosecution costs totalling £3240. The prosecution was brought by Dorset County Council after an investigation by its Trading Standards Service.

The court heard that Mortiboys agreed to sell the car to a customer who was looking for a family car at a reduced price saying there would be no warranty. After the purchase the customer became concerned about the safety of the car and submitted it for a MOT, which it failed. He then asked for a refund but this was refused.

The car was examined by an expert who said that because of extensive corrosion the car was dangerous to use and that the broken coil spring would alter the handling of the vehicle and could lead to an accident. When he was later interviewed by trading standards officers Mortiboys did not accept that he had done anything wrong and stood by his description of “superb throughout”.

In mitigation, Mortiboys’ solicitor said he had received bad legal advice and had since refunded the customer in full. He also said that the business was not making any money and it was a one-off incident.

In sentencing the chair of the Magistrates said that he took into account the facts that there were no injuries and the buyer had received a refund, but warned that traders must take their legal responsibilities seriously, particularly when selling second hand cars.

Councillor Deborah Croney, Dorset County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for trading standards, said:

“The sale of motor vehicles that are unsafe creates an unacceptable risk to consumers, their families and other road users. By providing advice to car traders on legal requirements and intervening where problems are identified our trading standards service aims to reduce that risk. Any business that is in doubt about their legal responsibilities in this area would be well advised to contact our trading standards business advice line on 01305 224702.”

Consumers thinking of buying a second hand car can look for a trader who is a member of the trading standards ‘Buy With Confidence’ trader approval scheme. Members are audited by Trading Standards prior to acceptance in the scheme. Find a trader in the ‘Buy With Confidence’ scheme or telephone the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06.

More advice on buying a used car can be found at: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/buying-or-repairing-a-car/buying-a-used-car/ .