News item

Leeds car trader fined £1,200

Mr Liaqat Ali trading as ‘ABC Bargain Cars’ and ‘AB Bargain Cars’ of Alexandra Road, Leeds has been fined £1,200 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1,900 at Leeds Magistrates Court on Thursday 9 January, in relation to a series of offences resulting from his car trading. 

Two of Ali’s vehicles were sold, or advertised, with false odometer readings. One was advertised as taxed and tested when there was no MOT, and one was described as having a ‘genuine mileage’ when there was in fact a 10,000 miles discrepancy. A further vehicle was advertised without any reference to it being an insurance write off. Further offences related to attempts he made to disclaim liability for defects in some of those vehicles. 

Mr Ali who had worked as a Senior Immigration Advisor for a Manchester law firm claimed to sell 36 vehicles a year. The Court heard he purchased a Volvo V50 from a Morley motor auction in July 2012 with a mileage reading of 192,008 miles. He subsequently advertised it online with a mileage of 86,972. The buyer discovered the true mileage and returned it. However, Ali continued to advertise the vehicle with the lower mileage. 

In January 2013 Ali sold an X registered Fiat Punto to a buyer from Batley. Although advertised as ‘taxed and tested’ the vehicle had in fact failed its MOT test a few days earlier. The buyer was left paying for the MOT and repairs when Ali refused to do anything to assist. 

In February 2013 he purchased a Mazda 6 from the same auction with an odometer reading of 162,000. The vehicle, an ex taxi, was then MOT’d a few days later with a mileage of 119,000 miles. Ali then advertised it as ‘warranted mileage’. Even when he knew his activities were being investigated he did not disclose the vehicle was an ‘ex taxi’. 

Finally in July 2013 trading standards officers observed a Renault Megane advertised for sale on Ali’s website. This vehicle was recorded as being an insurance write off (Category D: damaged but repairable). Ali had failed to check the vehicle history and was advertising it without any reference to its’ written off status. 

Ali had marked his invoices with terms designed to exclude consumer rights under the Sale of Goods Act and absolve himself from all liability. Such phrases are not permitted by law. 

When interviewed by trading standards officers, Ali denied all responsibility claiming a relative had run the business and he had no real involvement. His solicitor told the Court that Ali had been, at times reckless and foolish but now accepted overall responsibility. 

The offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 carry a maximum penalty of £5000 in the Magistrates Court and a maximum term of 2 years imprisonment and or an unlimited fine in the Crown Court. 

David Lodge, Divisional Manager, West Yorkshire Trading Standards said: ‘The case illustrates that some traders are prepared to act dishonestly and make a great deal of money by doing so. This Service can and will take legal action against that minority of traders who flout their legal responsibilities.’ 

Councillor Bill Urry, of the West Yorkshire Trading Standards Committee said: ‘Vehicles advertised on the internet are not always what they appear to be and false mileages and documents can deceive the unwary buyer. It pays to carry out checks before any purchase on both history and condition. If you suspect a motor trader is acting dishonestly you should ring the Citizen’s Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06.’ 

Notes to editor 

For the information please contact: 

David Lodge Divisional Manager (official media spokesperson) 0113 393 9704 

Andrew Bibby Principal Officer 0113 393 9866 

DATE: 13 January 2014