News item

fined for dodgy cars

Two second hand car sales men who put lives at risk by selling unroadworthy vehicles have been fined more than £30,000.

Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards Service successfully prosecuted Gurdip Virdi and Martin James Pittaway trading as MG Motor Group and Longford Park Car Sales following a year long investigation in co-operation with Coventry and Dudley Trading Standards Services.

In December 2008 trading standards received a complaint from a consumer who had purchased a Peugeot 306 from MG Motor Group in Ash Green, Warwickshire. A trading standards vehicle expert examined the car and identified that the front cross member was no longer attached to the main nearside chassis frame member. He concluded that the vehicle had been sold in a dangerous and unroadworthy condition.

Meanwhile trading standards were also investigating complaints regarding a Land Rover Discovery that had been sold twice by Mr Virdi and Mr Pittaway.
The first buyer, had soon after the purchase become suspicious about the condition of the vehicle and took it for an MOT, which it failed, mainly on severe corrosion which he was told would cost £1000 to repair.

He eventually obtained a refund from Longford Park Car Sales after showing them the MOT failure form and Mr Virdi informed him that they had scrapped the vehicle.

However, the vehicle wasn’t scrapped and was sold again months later, relying on the previous MOT test that still had a short period to run on it. The second owner also became suspicious and using the VOSA website discovered that the vehicle had failed a more recent MOT test.

VOSA subsequently examined the vehicle and prohibited it from being used on the road due to corrosion which was causing the bulkhead to move on application of the foot brake.

Warwickshire Trading Standards Service were granted the authority to prosecute Mr Virdi and Mr Pittaway on behalf of Coventry and Dudley Trading Standards.

Gurdip Virdi and Martin James pleaded guilty at the Nuneaton Justice Centre to five offences under the Business Names Act and Section 75 of the Road Traffic Act, for selling unroadworthy vehicles and for not disclosing the ownership of the business on their invoices.

Each defendant was fined a total of £15940, which included compensation payments for the buyer of the Peugeot 306 and the second buyer of the Land Rover Discovery.

At the time these matters were being investigated the defendants also pleaded guilty to a separate case relating to the sale of an unroadworthy Fiat Punto. They were fined in total £5125 on that occasion.

Mark Ryder, Head of Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards Service said: ‘In these financially difficult times, when consumers have less money to spend, many people will be looking to buy a second hand car as opposed to a new vehicle. It is very important that people wanting to buy a used car, whatever its price, should have confidence that the vehicle they are purchasing is roadworthy and safe to drive. Unroadworthy vehicles put at risk the lives of all road users.

‘We will continue to take action to prevent the sale of potentially dangerous and unroadworthy vehicles, helping to ensure consumers aren't deceived into buying cars that could be worthless and potentially lethal to drive.’

Warwickshire Trading Standards Service is reminding anyone looking to buy a used car, particularly at the cheaper end of the market to check the vehicle and any paperwork thoroughly before purchase.