A car salesman has admitted selling unroadworthy vehicles and deceiving customers at his partner’s garage business.
It follows a probe by Lancashire Trading Standards into Red Rose Garage on Lancaster New Road, Cabus, near Preston.
Dominic Holmes, 49, of Bryning Lane, Wrea Green, Preston, pleaded guilty to supplying an unroadworthy vehicle on June 17 last year.
Preston Magistrates’ Court heard the garage is owned by his partner Anna Cronin, 37, but Holmes was primarily responsible for running it.
He admitted selling a Daihatsu Extol campervan with insecure front seats that could have detached and caused an injury if in a collision.
He admitted engaging in unfair trading when customer Joanna Reeve tried to return it, issuing an invoice that said: “ No refunds will automatically be offered as this vehicle is sold for spares, repairs or scrap.”
Holmes also admitted unfair trading relating to the garage’s website which told customers it was “ authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority”.
In June 2019 victim Joanna Reeve saw an advert advertised on Facebook Marketplace for a Daihatsu Extol van described as having a full service history, priced to sell and low mileage, and arranged with her partner to view it.
Prosecuting, Claire Box said: “They spoke with Dominic Holmes who opened the vehicle doors for them and pointed out a bit of rust on the under sill near the front doors saying it was nothing major but needed a bit of attention to stop it spreading.
“They asked if they could take it for a test drive and Mr Holmes said yes, but not to go too far as it didn’t have a lot of petrol in it.
The vehicle was advertised at £1,999 and she was asked for £300 deposit in cash, but was not given any paperwork.
After the purchase she decided to get a service and check done as she was intending on using it to go to a music festival, but on June 25 a another garage advised her to return it due to issues they considered dangerous.
Trading Standards were informed and an examination was carried out by independent expert.
Holme refused to accept the return, stating that the small print on the sales invoice said it was sold as spares and repairs.
Mrs Box added: “Miss Reeve would say that at no point up until then had she been informed that the vehicle was being sold for spares and repairs, as nothing in the advert she saw had stated this, nothing was displayed in or on the vehicle when she viewed it on the garage forecourt, nor was anything said to her at that time or when she asked to go for a test drive.
“She had been allowed to drive the vehicle away from the forecourt on the day of purchase and Holmes had offered her use of his computer in order to tax the vehicle.”
The Road Traffic Act imposes an obligation on the seller of a motor vehicle to ensure it is roadworthy. The only defences are that the seller believed on reasonable grounds the car was not going to be used on a public road, or took reasonable steps to make the purchaser aware the vehicle was unroadworthy.
Holmes received a two year conditional discharge and must pay £2,930.77 and a £20 surcharge.