Prosecution serves as an important reminder to motor traders on the need to check the condition of the cars they sell
On 17 February 2016 at Telford Magistrates Court, car trader Grant Arnold has been fined £3,300 and ordered to pay costs of £3,000 and a £120 victims surcharge, after he pleaded guilty to selling a motor vehicle which was in an unroadworthy condition to a member of the public.
Shropshire Council’s public protection team undertook this investigation after being contacted by a consumer who was concerned at the condition of the vehicle that Mr Arnold had sold him. The vehicle had been advertised online as being in a very nice condition, with good tyres and drove really well, when in fact the vehicle was in need of significant remedial work. Mr Arnold was contacted by the customer when problems with the vehicle became apparent, but Mr Arnold declined to take any action.
An examination of the vehicle by an expert vehicle examiner identified that the vehicle was not only unroadworthy but in a dangerous condition, with two well established areas of corrosion, shock absorbers that were in a poor state of repair, badly worn and binding brakes and incorrect tyres. The effects were to make the vehicle extremely difficult to control.
In sentencing Mr Arnold, the court recognised Mr Arnold’s high turnover of vehicles and as a consequence, the higher duty of care or due diligence that was needed to ensure that vehicles fit their description, are safe and roadworthy
Grant Tunnadine, investigations team manager for public protection, said:-
“I am very pleased with the outcome of this investigation, and am pleased that the court have shared our concerns. Clearly any incident that puts at risk the safety of the public is a serious matter and one in which we will not hesitate to fully investigate using all the powers at our discretion. The court has clearly recognized the failings of Mr Arnold to adequately assess and rectify the issues with this vehicle before selling it to a member of the public. This is an essential step that every motor trader must do before selling a car, as failing to do so can not only put the consumer at risk but other road users as well. I hope this case and the sentence that has been handed down by the court will help deter others from ignoring the condition of any vehicle they sell.”
Mal Price, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for planning, housing, regulatory services and environment, added:
“Traders must take their responsibility towards their customers very seriously, and this is particularly the case when selling secondhand cars. They must ensure that the car is roadworthy and safe before allowing a customer to drive the car off their forecourt. The risks to consumers are all too obvious, and can be fatal should a trader ignore or fail to address a vehicle’s condition before any sale. For any trader requiring further advice or assistance I would urge them to make contact with our public protection service at their earliest opportunity.”
Shropshire Council encourages individuals to contact the Citizens Advice Consumer helpline on 08454 04 05 06 if they have any concerns with a vehicle they have purchased. Shropshire-based traders who wish to seek further advice on their legal obligations can do so by contacting public protection’s prevention and early intervention team on 0345 678 9000. General business advice and support can also be found on the council’s website at http://shropshire.gov.uk/business/.