An Eglinton motor trader was fined a total of £2,700 in relation to a case of what is commonly known as car ‘clocking’ on Monday at Londonderry Magistrates Court.
The court was told that the defendant, Christopher Barr, who did not appear in court for the hearing, traded under three different names, namely Barr Motors, Auction Cars Direct UK and also Trade Sales Direct.
At the conclusion of the case and in addition to the fine, Barr was ordered to pay compensation of £4,196.78.
The case against him was brought by the Trading Standards Service of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, and, in the absence of the accused, a finding of guilty was recorded in respect of two charges taken under the Fraud Act 2006 and a further four charges under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
In evidence the court was told that in April 2014, the Trading Standards Service received complaints from a number of consumers who had purchased cars from Christopher Barr.
It was revealed that shortly after purchase of the vehicles the purchasers discovered the cars had either been ‘clocked’ or had significant mechanical problems associated with them.
Investigations carried out by the Trading Standards Service revealed that two of the cars had had their mileage reduced by a total of some 118,000 miles.
The court was told that Trading Standards Service believed Mr Barr had full knowledge of the higher mileage prior to selling the cars.
As well as selling “clocked” cars Mr Barr also chose to use a form of words in receipts aimed at removing his responsibilities under Sale of Goods legislation.
Catherine McErlean of the Trading Standards Service said: “Car dealers have a responsibility to ensure that all descriptions applied to vehicles are truthful and not misleading to consumers. Mr Barr’s behaviour in the sale of these particular vehicles fell well short of the trading practices expected of traders selling used cars to consumers.”
Anyone who believes they have been sold goods which have been falsely described should contact Consumerline on 0300 123 6262.
The Trading Standards Service investigates potential criminal offences relating to misdescribed cars under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
A fine of up to £5,000 can be imposed for an offence under the Regulations.
The Fraud Act 2006 makes it an offence to commit fraud by making a false representation.
Imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or a fine not exceeding £5,000 can be imposed for an offence under the Fraud Act.