Motor dealer fined £1,000 over 'misleading' scooter sale

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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.”

Comments (8)

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11:17am Tue 26 Mar 13

meerkats says...

Doesnt seem much of a fine for such a serious offence.
Doesnt seem much of a fine for such a serious offence. meerkats
  • Score: 0

11:44am Tue 26 Mar 13

Wave says...

The vehicle was roadworthy so the offence is not as serious as it may have been.
The vehicle was roadworthy so the offence is not as serious as it may have been. Wave
  • Score: 0

1:39pm Tue 26 Mar 13

Tyrone Shulace says...

meerkats wrote:
Doesnt seem much of a fine for such a serious offence.
Agree with you there meerkats, it was probably dissapointing to the purchaser of the bike, misrepresentation is always bad, the bike had a number of faults which the seller failed to rectify which obviously made the situation worse, good thing the buyer had the situation come to light when he had it MOT'd elsewhere.
[quote][p][bold]meerkats[/bold] wrote: Doesnt seem much of a fine for such a serious offence.[/p][/quote]Agree with you there meerkats, it was probably dissapointing to the purchaser of the bike, misrepresentation is always bad, the bike had a number of faults which the seller failed to rectify which obviously made the situation worse, good thing the buyer had the situation come to light when he had it MOT'd elsewhere. Tyrone Shulace
  • Score: 1

3:24pm Tue 26 Mar 13

meerkats says...

Wave wrote:
The vehicle was roadworthy so the offence is not as serious as it may have been.
i disagree,because the dealer knew of the history and misrepresented the condition of the bike. When purchasing from a dealer you should expect and get the truth re vehicle history etc.
[quote][p][bold]Wave[/bold] wrote: The vehicle was roadworthy so the offence is not as serious as it may have been.[/p][/quote]i disagree,because the dealer knew of the history and misrepresented the condition of the bike. When purchasing from a dealer you should expect and get the truth re vehicle history etc. meerkats
  • Score: 1

4:43pm Tue 26 Mar 13

Gillian Zella Martin 09 says...

If buying a vehicle privately and not from a walk in dealership on the High Street etc, I recommend using one of the textcheck services available on ones mobile phone, for as little as £3 just text the vehicle registration and receive a text back with vehicle history which includes any 'write off' histories. The information is also available directly from the DVLA.
If buying a vehicle privately and not from a walk in dealership on the High Street etc, I recommend using one of the textcheck services available on ones mobile phone, for as little as £3 just text the vehicle registration and receive a text back with vehicle history which includes any 'write off' histories. The information is also available directly from the DVLA. Gillian Zella Martin 09
  • Score: 0

5:47pm Tue 26 Mar 13

Wave says...

Of course you should expect the truth from a dealer.
That is why he was found guilty and convicted in a court of law.
He will have a criminal record, and if caught repeat offending would face the prospect of prison.
Of course you should expect the truth from a dealer. That is why he was found guilty and convicted in a court of law. He will have a criminal record, and if caught repeat offending would face the prospect of prison. Wave
  • Score: 0

8:49pm Sun 31 Mar 13

rwarwicker says...

Having previously owned a repaired Cat C write off, which was declared by the seller, and the price was reflective. I can say it is easily spotted, for example the V5c will be noted "Accident Damage/repaired VIC checked" along with a date in the notes section.
Not defending the seller, but surely the buyer has some responsibility to do a HPI check? I personally would never buy a car without a HPI check which shows absolutely all reported histories. A MOT history report is also obtainable online for free as long as you obtain the most recent MOT certificate number
Having previously owned a repaired Cat C write off, which was declared by the seller, and the price was reflective. I can say it is easily spotted, for example the V5c will be noted "Accident Damage/repaired VIC checked" along with a date in the notes section. Not defending the seller, but surely the buyer has some responsibility to do a HPI check? I personally would never buy a car without a HPI check which shows absolutely all reported histories. A MOT history report is also obtainable online for free as long as you obtain the most recent MOT certificate number rwarwicker
  • Score: 0

12:21pm Mon 1 Apr 13

Twixter says...

rwarwicker wrote:
Having previously owned a repaired Cat C write off, which was declared by the seller, and the price was reflective. I can say it is easily spotted, for example the V5c will be noted "Accident Damage/repaired VIC checked" along with a date in the notes section.
Not defending the seller, but surely the buyer has some responsibility to do a HPI check? I personally would never buy a car without a HPI check which shows absolutely all reported histories. A MOT history report is also obtainable online for free as long as you obtain the most recent MOT certificate number
Cat C write offs are indeed recorded on the V5C but the more common Cat D (uneconomical to repair) write offs are not, so checking the V5 will not always reveal write off history.

Although it is obviously advisable for buyers to do their own HPI checks, the only 'responsibility' to check vehicle histories lies with the trader. This should be done as part of their due diligence checks in relation to every vehicle they sell.

This individual has clearly either a) not bothered to do this checks, or b) (more seriously) chosen to omit his findings. The latter arguably amounts to fraud, so if this is the case he is very lucky to get away with only a conditional discharge and costs!
[quote][p][bold]rwarwicker[/bold] wrote: Having previously owned a repaired Cat C write off, which was declared by the seller, and the price was reflective. I can say it is easily spotted, for example the V5c will be noted "Accident Damage/repaired VIC checked" along with a date in the notes section. Not defending the seller, but surely the buyer has some responsibility to do a HPI check? I personally would never buy a car without a HPI check which shows absolutely all reported histories. A MOT history report is also obtainable online for free as long as you obtain the most recent MOT certificate number[/p][/quote]Cat C write offs are indeed recorded on the V5C but the more common Cat D (uneconomical to repair) write offs are not, so checking the V5 will not always reveal write off history. Although it is obviously advisable for buyers to do their own HPI checks, the only 'responsibility' to check vehicle histories lies with the trader. This should be done as part of their due diligence checks in relation to every vehicle they sell. This individual has clearly either a) not bothered to do this checks, or b) (more seriously) chosen to omit his findings. The latter arguably amounts to fraud, so if this is the case he is very lucky to get away with only a conditional discharge and costs! Twixter
  • Score: 0

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