Mr Graham Ray Inston, trading as GI Autos, Wigston Hill, Baxterley Atherstone has been successfully prosecuted for selling an unroadworthy vehicle to an undercover Trading Standards Officer.
Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service brought the prosecution after carrying out checks on the roadworthiness of vehicles on sale across the county.
Using intelligence gathered from consumers, Trading Standards Officers made an undercover visit to Gi Autos and purchased a Peugeot 206. The vehicle had been advertised in a national car buyer magazine as ‘in very nice condition, looks and drives great with a full service history’.
The vehicle was subsequently inspected by an expert vehicle examiner who concluded that the car was unroadworthy. He identified a number of faults:
- Defective brakes – front brakes discs were in poor condition and the brake pads were worn out
- The load sensing valve on the braking system was completely seized
- Nearside front suspension bottom ball joint cover had failed and was allowing the ingress of dirt resulting in excessive play
- Insecure battery
- Severe engine oil leak
- Gearbox leak
- Failed exhaust mounting bracket
- Severely corroded fuel tank support strap, and
- Defective number plate light
Mr Inston also provided a receipt to the undercover officer that failed to clearly state the name and address of the trader, thus making it more difficult for any consumer to contact the business if things later went wrong with the vehicle.
Warwickshire County Councillor Andy Crump, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety said:
“It is completely unacceptable for car dealers to carry out few if any checks on the roadworthiness of the cars they sell, before putting them up for sale.”
“Car dealers must ensure that the vehicles they sell are both legal and roadworthy; not to do so risks putting the lives of all road users at risk.”
“Warwickshire Trading Standards will continue to take action to prevent the sale of unroadworthy vehicles and protect the car buying public.”
“Consumers can also take their own precautions by following our used car buyers top tips.”
At Nuneaton Magistrates Court on Tuesday 7th January 2020 Graham Ray Inston, (aged 54 of Wigston Hill Baxterley Atherstone) trading as GI Autos pleaded guilty of three offences under the Road Traffic Act 1988, Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and the Companies Act 2006.
On Tuesday 14th January 2020 at Nuneaton Magistrates Court Mr Inston was fined £552 and ordered to pay costs of £2218 and a victim surcharge of £30.
In mitigation, Mr Inston had no previous convictions and was given credit for entering a guilty plea at the earliest opportunity.
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, ensure you get a receipt with their name and address clearly stated.
- If you 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