Two car dealers in South Tyneside have been prosecuted after misleading buyers.
South Tyneside Council’s trading standards team took legal action against the car salesmen in relation to offences committed at the business premises they shared in Mitre Place, South Shields.
Stephen Richardson was prosecuted in relation to the sale of three cars to the public between March 2016 and January 2017, while he was trading under the name South Shields Auto Port.
South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard that all three buyers complained to trading standards, and following enquiries, it was found that Richardson had failed to disclose that the cars had previously been recorded as either Category C or Category D insurance write offs.
Richardson, aged 34, of Haggerston Terrace in Jarrow, admitted one offence under the Fraud Act 2006 and three offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
He was given a 17 week sentence suspended for two years and ordered to carry our 200 hours of unpaid work, pay £500 costs and a £115 victim surcharge.
A spokeswoman for South Tyneside Council said: “We welcome the suspended prison sentence which clearly underlines the seriousness of this type of offence. We hope the severity of the sentence will deter others from similar fraudulent behaviour.”
The legal action follows the case of Christopher Pinnock, who was convicted earlier this year of four offences under the Fraud Act and six offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations. This related to the sale of a used car in October 2016 while operating under the name Trade Direct from the same address in Mitre Place.
Magistrates heard that shortly after the sale, the car developed serious faults.
Trading Standards officers established that Pinnock, aged 35, of Kyffin View, South Shields, had failed to carry out adequate checks on the vehicle and when the customer complained about the faults, he gave false details to avoid being pursed for compensation.
Pinnock admitted the charge and was fined £280 and ordered to pay £350 compensation, £100 costs and a £30 victim surcharge.
The spokeswoman said: “Car dealers are required to carry out background checks to establish whether the vehicles they intend to offer for sale have been damaged or written off and must pass their findings on to prospective customers. They also have to ensure that the vehicles they sell are correctly described and roadworthy.
“Car dealers must also prominently display their details at their business premises and on their paperwork so that customers can exercise their consumer rights in the event of any problems with their purchase.
“In both these cases, the sales of the cars fell short of the standards expected by trading standards legislation.”
For advice about their legal rights or to report a business to trading standards, call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.