Mr Aspi Mobed, trading as Aspi Specialist Cars Warwick Rd, Stratford-upon-Avon has been successfully prosecuted after the business sold an unroadworthy vehicle.
Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service brought the prosecution after receiving a complaint from a consumer who had purchased a Saab 9-3 from the trader. The consumer had seen the vehicle advertised on Ebay where it had been described as “very good indeed”, “a nice bright car” and “quite remarkable for miles covered.”
On purchasing the car, the consumer was asked to sign a document that stated that the vehicle was being sold as a ‘trade sale’ and that no refunds or compensation would be given after the vehicle had been driven away. These statements are illegal as they seek to give consumers the false impression that they have no legal right to return the vehicle if a fault occurs.
On driving the car away from the garage, the consumer immediately noticed a droning noise and took it to another garage that identified a number of faults. He then contacted Warwickshire Trading Standards who asked an expert vehicle examiner to check the car.
A number of issues were identified which would attract failure notices during an MOT test and render the car dangerous and unroadworthy. These included a broken front road spring that is highly likely to have caused a suspension collapse and the very real possibility that the spring could then have severed the brake pipe. Other serious issues included a worn tyre, defective brakes, a failed drive shaft gaiter and a failed gaiter on nearside track rod end.
Warwickshire County Councillor Andy Crump, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety said:
“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 unroadworthy vehicles, helping to ensure consumers don’t buy cars that could be worthless and potentially lethal to drive.”
At Nuneaton Magistrates Court on Tuesday 10th September 2019, Mr Aspi Mobed (aged 57 of Tanworth Lane Henley in Arden) pleaded guilty to one offence under the Road Traffic Act 1988 and one offence under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. A £2000 fine was imposed, plus a victim surcharge of £100 and costs of £2583.70, making a total of £4,683.70.
Mr Mobed represented himself in court. In mitigation he stated that he had been naïve, but had never tried to hide the vehicle’s defects from the consumer and had paid the consumer back his money.
On sentencing, the Chairman of the Court told Mr Mobed that he was a trader of longstanding and this was his first offence, but as an expert he ought to be experienced in this area.
Top Tips for Used Car Buyers
- Although you may pay more for a vehicle from a dealer than a private seller, your consumer rights are much stronger. In addition to your consumer rights, dealers may also offer extended warranties on vehicles they sell, making it easier to get any problems with the vehicle resolved
- Before you buy, check the vehicle’s history. You can check a car’s MOT history online for free by visiting www.check-mot.service.gov.uk There are also a number of free and paid for apps that enable buyers to discover if the car they are buying has been stolen, written off or has outstanding finance.
- If you’re not a vehicle expert, consider paying for an independent vehicle check. A basic check will cost about £100.
- Do a visual check of the vehicle and take it for a test drive. Check the tyre tread depth and underneath the car for repairs, severe corrosion and oil leaks. Look for chips or cracks in the windscreen and dents or rust on the bodywork. Check the engine fluid levels and make sure the electrics work properly (windows/lights/radio).
- Don’t forget the car’s interior. Sagging, stained and torn upholstery can indicate the vehicle has not been looked after and may be suggestive of problems elsewhere.
- If you buy a car from a trader and subsequently have problems, you do have a legal right to reject the vehicle or request a repair or replacement, dependent upon circumstances. Contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service for advice on 03454 04 05 06 or visit: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/tradingstandards