“Unscrupulous” motor dealer fined for selling unsafe motor vehicle
A 61-year-old man from Wheatley has been fined £13,395* after pleading guilty to selling a dangerously unsafe motor vehicle.
Mark Roberts, trading as Fleet Cars Direct, of Milethorne Lane, Wheatley, was sentenced on 15 August after pleading guilty to four counts of Safety and other Trading Standards offences at Sheffield Crown Court.
In February 2019, a complaint was made to Doncaster Trading Standards Service after a member of the public had bought a vehicle from Mark Roberts.
Further investigation uncovered serious breaches of safety legislation along with other Consumer Protection Offences, including attempts to restrict a consumer’s right to seek redress, misrepresenting a vehicle in an advert and providing a warranty which provided less protection than which applies in consumer law.
Mark Roberts had described the vehicle in an advert as “a very clean, really well looked after Nissan Pathfinder,” and having “excellent bodywork,” and being able to “drive away today.” Inspections found that the vehicle was found to have “Corrosion/weakening of the chassis frame renders(ing) the vehicle in a dangerous condition.”
Cabinet member for Highways, Infrastructure and Enforcement, Cllr Joe Blackham said: “I am grateful for the work that has been done here by both the trading standards team and independent inspectors. It is clear that this vehicle was in a dangerous condition and I hope this case serves as a warning for those who seek to make money without worrying about the potential consequences for both themselves and innocent members of the public.”
During the sentencing hearing the judge, the Recorder of Sheffield His Honour Judge Richardson QC, was extremely critical of the defendant, describing his actions as “shameful” and “unscrupulous,” before going on to say the advertisement of the vehicle was “a serious example of operating a car business in an illegal and dangerous manner.”
Describing the matter as a bad case of its type, the Recorder of Sheffield added that the court would protect the public, who should know that “businessmen like this will be seriously punished.”
Doncaster Trading Standards Service are keen to promote legitimate businesses, particularly in the motor trade. As part of this, an Alternative Dispute Resolution Service is available, supporting Dealerships across South Yorkshire, with the Motor Trade Partnership scheme aiming to raise standards amongst companies in the area. Doncaster Trading Standards Service also acts as a Primary Authority for a number of the country’s largest retail motor groups.
The team are keen to advise that Consumers should look for members of trade services which offer an ADR scheme to help resolve problems if they occur in order to buy with confidence. For more information on Trading Standards or to report an incident visit https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/get-more-help/if-you-need-more-help-about-a-consumer-issue/ or call Citizens Advice consumer helpline: 0808 223 1133
*Full amount included legal costs.