Trader jailed for five months for conning car buyer

By on 04/08/2015 in News

A Birmingham car trader was sentenced to five months’ imprisonment for trying to sell a used car that was unroadworthy, at Birmingham Crown Court today (4 August 2015).

Neil Gaffney, 46, of Burley Way, Kings Norton, pleaded guilty to an offence under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 on 13 July 2015 for advertising a 2001-reg Nissan Terrano for sale via several websites, including eBay and Gumtree, which was unroadworthy

The court also ordered Gaffney to pay compensation of £2,810 to the customer who bought the vehicle.

Birmingham City Council brought the case against Gaffney as a result of a consumer’s complaint received on 8 October 2013.

Officers discovered that Gaffney, in advertising the vehicle for sale, did not mention that he worked in the motor trade, creating the false impression that he was a consumer selling the vehicle via statements provided by eBay and Gumtree.

Warwickshire Vehicle Consultants Ltd, who inspected the Nissan Terrano on 18 March 2014 confirmed the car was unroadworthy – but it was not dangerous.

Inspectors found excessive corrosion of the car, which had occurred over a long period of time, which would require extensive structural repairs to make it roadworthy and meet the standard required to pass an MOT.

This included corrosion around seat belt anchorage points, which could render the belt useless in a crash or braking suddenly – and therefore cause injury or even a fatality.

Cllr Barbara Dring, Chair of the city council’s Licensing and Public Protection Committee, said:  “Increasingly people are looking to buy used cars online so consumers should be able to have confidence in the vehicle they’re buying – and the person or business selling it.

“The defendant not only gave a false impression that he was a private seller, but also that the car was fit to drive, when it was unroadworthy.

“The level of assurance offered by auction and car-selling websites varies so you may find back-street dealers listed alongside established dealerships – but if the car’s price looks too good to be true, then it probably is.”


Note to editors:

Trading Standards would advise consumers to make sure that they know who they are dealing with when buying a car as consumer rights are diminished if it’s a private sale

Consumers should also make enquiries and do pre-history checks such as MOT and HPI checks. It may also be useful to get an inspection via an independent organisation prior to purchase.

Some motoring-related websites offer cars for sale from selected sources to reassure buyers by ‘vetting’ dealers and only allowing those that meet a set criteria to sell cars via their sites.


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