Trade Cars Cleckheaton Ltd of Cleckheaton Mills, Bradford Road, Cleckheaton and company director Darren Akiens (43) of York Place, Cleckheaton have been fined a total of £22,583 at Kirklees Magistrates Court for advertising vehicles which were mis-described and were dangerously unroadworthy.
Trade Cars Cleckheaton Ltd pleaded guilty to 8 offences and director Darren Akiens pleaded guilty to 4 offences under the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 and The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 at a previous hearing in November 2019.
Trade Cars Cleckheaton was the regular subject of complaints from unhappy customers having featured in the top 10 most complained about West Yorkshire car traders for the last 5 years. Officers had previously visited the company and had given advice and guidance but this had not resulted in a decrease in complaints.
Officers from West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service and an independent motor engineer visited Trade Cars Cleckheaton in March 2019 and carried out an inspection of the vehicles being offered for sale.
A Kia Cee’d was inspected and found to be dangerously unroadworthy due to defects with the brakes and a gearbox oil leak. These defects are classed as dangerous defects on an MOT and the vehicle had failed an MOT in January 2019 with these same defects. The battery had a poorly connected live wire connected to it. The online advert failed to disclose that the vehicle had failed two MOT’s and in addition officers found that there was a discrepancy of £200 between the price on the online advert and the price on the windscreen.
A Chevrolet Captiva was advertised as having 8 months MOT when it only had 4 months MOT and the vehicle’s windscreen displayed a price £460 higher on the windscreen than on the online advert.
A Vauxhall Zafira was advertised as having 12 months MOT when in fact the MOT had expired.
A Ford Mondeo and a Vauxhall Meriva both had windscreen prices £200 higher than the online adverts.
During interview the company admitted that an area of the forecourt was known to staff as “death row”.
David Lodge, Head of West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service said “Second hand car traders have to ensure that the vehicles for sale on their forecourts are safe, roadworthy and correctly described. This was clearly not the case in relation to this particular business and the court has acted accordingly, hopefully this result should serve as a warning to other traders that this type of offending will not be tolerated.”
Councillor Jo Hepworth, Chair of the West Yorkshire Joint Services Committee which oversees the work of the Trading Standards said “Car purchases are one of the most expensive purchases people make and as such they need to exercise caution before parting with their hard earned money, I encourage consumers to purchase a car from a reputable trader such as one which is a member of the West Yorkshire Motor Trade Partnership Scheme. The scheme is dedicated to upholding high standards of customer service so that consumers can buy from our members with confidence” A list of members can be found at https://www.wyjs.org.uk/trading-standards/motor-trade-partnership/who-is-a-member/