Trading Standards News: Wootton Wawen Car Dealer Prosecuted for Selling Unroadworthy Vehicle

Wootton Wawen car dealer John Paul Hunt, trading as JPH Autos has been successfully prosecuted after selling an unroadworthy vehicle.

Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service undertook an investigation of JPH Autos after receiving a steady stream of complaints, despite the business having received Trading Standards advice.

Undercover Trading Standards Officers purchased a vehicle (a Ford StreetKA) they had seen advertised on the JPH Autos website and instructed an expert vehicle examiner to check the condition of the car.

He found a number of issues which made the vehicle unroadworthy including heavy corrosion to the chassis, badly corroded coil springs and a deteriorating exhaust system. The steering was over sensitive, even at low speeds and the rear fog light did not work.

On visiting the garage to purchase the vehicle, the Trading Standards Officer expected to pay the advertised price of £1250. However, she was then told that there was an additional £75 payable, making the purchase price £1325. This was also an offence.

Warwickshire County Councillor Howard Roberts, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety said:

“When we buy a used car, whatever its price, we should have confidence that the vehicle we are purchasing is roadworthy and safe to drive.”

“Unroadworthy vehicles put the lives of all road users at risk. Warwickshire Trading Standards Service will continue to take action to prevent the sale of potentially dangerous and unroadworthy vehicles, helping to ensure consumers aren’t deceived into buying cars that could be worthless and potentially lethal to drive.”

At Nuneaton Magistrates Court on Tuesday 4th July John Paul Hunt (aged 73 of Lady Lane, Shirley, Solihull) pleaded guilty to all the charges put to him which were under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, Companies Act 2006 and the Road Traffic Act 1988.

Mr Hunt represented himself. In mitigation he stated that that it was not him that had carried out the sale but one of his employees. He went on to say that he had now ceased trading as JPH Autos.

Mr Hunt was sentenced to a £120 fine with a £30 victim surcharge. He was ordered to pay costs to the sum of £300. Total £450

Advice to consumers purchasing second hand vehicles

Before you buy a used car, why not use these free online tools to check it out? You only need the vehicle’s registration number.

There are two Government websites that provide free information about vehicles: the MOT history website and the DVLA’s vehicle enquiry website:

The MOT history website

The MOT history website provides detailed information of a car’s MOT history.

This includes previous test dates, what the mileage was at the time, whether the vehicle passed or failed and reasons for any failure points. Use this website to check mileage accuracy and to get an idea of vehicle condition before buying.

Visit: https://www.check-mot.service.gov.uk and https://www.gov.uk/browse/driving/mot-insurance

The DVLA website

The DVLA website has information on the tax/SORN status of the vehicle, year of manufacture, date first registered, engine size and colour and

Visit: https://www.vehicleenquiry.service.gov.uk/

There are also commercial websites that will tell you, without charge, if the vehicle has been stolen or imported. For a few pounds you can get further information including whether there is any outstanding finance on the car or if the vehicle has ever been written off or scrapped.

Warwickshire residents wishing to make a complaint about a vehicle they have purchased can do so by contacting Warwickshire Trading Standards via the Citizens Consumer Advice Helpline on 03454 04 05 06.