News item

Car trader fined for selling accident damaged car and 'clocked' car

A Ballyclare car dealer who sold an accident damaged car to a consumer and sold a ‘clocked’ car to another consumer was today fined a total of £600 at Belfast Magistrates’ Court.

He was also ordered to pay a total of £1,125 in compensation to the consumers involved.

A ‘clocked’ car is a vehicle that has had its mileage reading altered to show a lower mileage. The aim of this is to increase the price of the vehicle and make it more attractive to a would-be-purchaser.

In a case brought by the Trading Standards Service of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, James Redpath, who traded from Ballynure Road, Ballyclare, was found guilty of two charges under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPR’s).

The investigation arose following a consumer complaint. The complainant purchased a BMW car from James Redpath in June 2011. He later discovered, after carrying out a HPI check, that the vehicle had been recorded as a category C insurance loss. The consumer had not been informed of this fact at any stage of his dealings with James Redpath.

In June 2011 a second consumer purchased a Nissan X-trail car from James Redpath. At the time of the sale there were 82,000 miles on the odometer. It was later discovered that the vehicle had been ‘clocked’, having a previously recorded mileage of 156,000 miles when sold by an auction house in Scotland in the same month.

Bronagh Doherty of the Trading Standards Service said: “All second hand car dealers must ensure that they give consumers all the information needed to make an informed decision before a sale. All important information must not hidden or omitted. In this case, one of the vehicles had previously been subject to an insurance loss, a fact that would have affected the selling price of the vehicle, and the consumer should have been informed of this prior to the sale. The consumer would not have purchased this vehicle if he had been told about the fact that it had previously been subject to an accident.

“The second vehicle had been ‘clocked’ and the trader failed to inform the consumer about the true mileage that vehicle had travelled. The Department views the selling of ‘clocked’ cars as a very serious matter. All car dealers should take steps to ensure that the mileage on a vehicle is accurate. The ‘clocked’ car in this case was purchased from an auction in Scotland with the higher mileage and offered for sale to the consumer in Northern Ireland with the lower mileage. This case should serve as a warning to all car dealers in Northern Ireland.”

Anyone who believes they have been sold a car that has been ‘clocked’ or have been misled in any way should contact Consumerline on 0300 123 6262 or log on to http://www.consumerline.org.

Notes to editors:

1. The Trading Standards Service investigates potential criminal offences relating to misdescribed cars under The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPR’s). These Regulations creates offences for commercial practices which are ‘misleading actions’ under Regulation 5. They create further offences for traders who ‘omit material information’ under Regulation 6.

2. A fine of up to £5,000 can be imposed for an offence under the Regulations.

3. The OFT “Guidance for second hand car dealers” is available to download from the OFT website http://www.oft.gov.uk

4. All media enquiries to DETI Press Office: Tel 028 9052 9604 or e-mail pressoffice@detini.gov.uk. Out of office hours, please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.

DATE: 27 March 2013