Elm Park second-hand car cheat hit with fine
07:00 13 February 2014
Selling a car at the roadside cost a man £1,125 at Havering Magistrates’ Court when he was found guilty of unfair trading.
Graham Coulson, 51, of Diban Court, Elm Park, pleaded guilty to an offence under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations. Last week he was fined £250 for the offence, ordered to pay £600 in costs and a £25 victim surcharge, as well as pay £250 in compensation to the consumer.
Coulson advertised a Mitsubushi Carisma car on the Autotrader website under the dealer name “DM Autos” with a described mileage of 114,000 miles.
The buyer responded to the advertisement and was given a postcode by the seller.
When he asked for a house number he was told a postcode would do and was instructed to meet the dealer near a car wash in Elm Park Avenue, Hornchurch.
The buyer met the seller at the site and, after a test drive, paid £850 for the car.
After the sale, the buyer contacted the previous keeper who said the car had actually travelled more than 180,000 miles.
The buyer was unable to obtain any redress from the seller and was cut off when he tried to ring the number on the advertisement.
He then complained to Havering Council trading standards department and Coulson was interviewed in relation to the incident when he admitted placing the advert and selling the car.
Havering Council cabinet member for public protection, Cllr Lesley Kelly, said: “Buying a car at the roadside is often a risky business for a consumer, as they often only have a mobile number for the seller. In this case, trading standards were able to track down the seller and the court has made clear that it takes a serious view of such offences. We were particularly pleased the buyer was awarded compensation by the court.
“Our message to anyone thinking of buying a car is to use a reputable dealer, preferably one who is part of the Buy with Confidence scheme, as you then have someone to contact if problems arise.”
Details of the Buy With Confidence scheme are available at www.havering.gov.uk/buywithconfidence