A USED car dealership based in Rochdale, Lancashire, has been convicted of offences relating to the sale of a falsely described vehicle to a Pembrokeshire buyer.

Fines and prosecution costs totalling £4,600 were awarded against The Car Corner Limited by Haverfordwest Magistrates on Thursday (November 14).

The case was prosecuted by Pembrokeshire County Council’s Trading Standards team - part of the authorities’ Public Protection service – and was instigated by a consumer complaint from Graham Fisher of Camrose.

The court heard that Mr Fisher had purchased a second-hand Ford Maverick from the Rochdale garage in August 2018 after seeing it advertised online.

He phoned Car Corner to check whether the car was still for sale and specifically asked whether there was any corrosion on the car – particularly on the rear wheel arches and the sills.

He was told on the phone that “there was a little bit on one side and none on the other”.

The sales description listed the car as in “excellent condition”. Based on these descriptions; Mr Fisher purchased the car and arranged delivery.

Upon delivery of the car to Pembrokeshire by the dealer, Mr Fisher found that the car was considerably corroded on both rear wheel arches and on both sills. He attempted to reject the car and refused delivery. However, the car was left outside the delivery address without his consent and the trader refused to provide a full refund.

An independent report commissioned by Mr Fisher confirmed that the car was excessively corroded on the wheel arches and inner sills. He stated that had he been made aware of the corrosion he would not have purchased the car. He later complained to Pembrokeshire Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline.

Although the dealership denied the charges, it was found guilty of two offences contrary to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

The company was found not guilty in respect of two additional charges relating to the car’s safety.

Car Corner was fined a total of £2,000 and ordered to pay £2,500 in prosecution costs to Pembrokeshire County Council. A victim surcharge of £100 was also awarded.

The buyer had already received a partial refund prior to the trial via a claim in the Small Claims Court.

After the case, Lead Trading Standards Officer, Andy Layton, said: “The penalty handed out by the court sends a clear message to motor dealers that they must trade fairly and ensure that all cars that they offer for sale are safe and correctly described.

“Trading Standards Officers continue to conduct unannounced checks at second-hand car dealers across Pembrokeshire. This case shows that the Trading Standards service will also seek take action against motor traders based outside the county who sell misdescribed or unsafe vehicles to Pembrokeshire residents.”

• Any Pembrokeshire consumer who purchases a car that they believe is unsafe or incorrectly described from a motor dealer is encouraged to report the matter to the council via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06 (or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh speakers).