12 June 2012
A Caerphilly motor trader has been taken to court and made to pay more than £2,300 for selling an unsafe vehicle to an unsuspecting consumer.
Gareth Rhys Collins, of St Martin's Car Sales, Nantgarw Road, Caerphilly was taken to court following an investigation by Caerphilly County Borough Council's Trading Standards team, who had received a complaint from a consumer who had purchased a vehicle from Mr Collins.
The case came to light after Trading Standards received a complaint from a consumer who purchased a second hand 51 plate Ford Fiesta from St Martin's Car Sales. The car had been purchased for £895 in August 2011, but had broken down after less than two weeks and was allegedly in a dangerous and unroadworthy condition.
Trading Standards investigated the complaint, and had the vehicle examined by an independent Consultant Engineer – Mr Collins was advised that the vehicle was being examined but declined to observe the examination.
The Consultant Engineer concluded that the vehicle was unsafe – the gearbox had failed and the vehicle was excessively corroded in places, including the flexi rubber brake ferrels, the offside front metal brake pipe and the offside rear chassis section.
Having been advised of the findings of the engineer, Collins did at this stage refund the purchase price to the consumer.
Trading Standards investigations also revealed that the original invoice given to the consumer by Collins stated that the transaction was a 'Trade Sale', giving the purchaser the impression that he did not have any statutory rights.
Gareth Rhys Collins, the owner of St Martin's Car Sales, was summonsed to court for supplying an unsafe vehicle under the General Product Safety Regulations 2005, and for giving the impression that the consumer had no rights under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
He appeared at Caerphilly Magistrates Court on 31st May 2012. Collins was found guilty of both offences and was fined £1,600 for supplying the unsafe vehicle, with no further punishment for the other offence.
He was also ordered to pay prosecution costs to Caerphilly County Borough Council of £754.11 and a £15 victim surcharge.
Cllr Dave Poole, Cabinet Member for Community and Leisure Services said, "I hope this successful prosecution will send out a clear message that strict legislation and laws are in place to protect consumers, and we will take strong action where needed to ensure this legislation is enforced".
For further information on how Trading Standards are working to protect Caerphilly county borough consumers, please visit www.caerphilly.gov.uk/tradingstandards.
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