A Newquay motor dealer has been fined £1,000 after admitting that he misrepresented the condition and history of a scooter, which had been a category C insurance write-off.
Cornwall Council’s Trading Standards team brought a successful prosecution against Steven James, trading as Glynn Motorcycles, based at Tregaswith, Newquay, for misrepresenting the condition and history of the scooter.
Bodmin Magistrates heard that in October 2011, Mr James had advertised a scooter on Ebay as being in excellent condition. Following purchase of the scooter the consumer noticed a number of faults which he tried to get resolved by going back to trader.
Mr James failed to fully resolve the faults with the scooter, and as a result the consumer took the scooter to an independent garage for repair. An MOT carried out as part of this work, highlighted that the scooter had previously been written off in an accident in June 2011.
An independent inspection by a vehicle examiner, commissioned by Cornwall Trading Standards, revealed that the condition of the scooter after purchase remained consistent with the damage sustained in the original accident, and that it appeared that minimal work had been done to bring the scooter back to a roadworthy condition.
Mr James pleaded guilty to two offences under The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008; admitting that he had given a misleading description in the advertisement, by describing the scooter as being in ‘excellent condition’ when it was in a poor mechanical and cosmetic condition; and that he had failed to mention in the advertisement that the scooter had been a Category C insurance write-off.
He received a two year conditional discharge and was ordered to pay costs of £1000.
Trading standards officer Gary Webster said: “The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 makes it an offence for traders to hide or fail to pass on information that might affect a consumer’s decision to make a purchase. It also prohibits traders from making misleading or untrue claims about the goods or services they provide.
“It is important that traders and businesses are upfront and clear about the details of the products and services they offer; and that they think very carefully before using phrases such as ‘excellent condition’ particularly when applied to motor vehicles.
"The regulations have a very wide scope and can be used to deal with a vast array of trading practices that most people would recognise as being unfair or fraudulent. Whilst we are happy to advise and work with businesses to ensure compliance with the law, sadly there are some occasions where more formal action is required.”