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Caerphilly second-hand car salesman fined £10,000 for dangerous vehicle

Published in News on Tuesday April 27th, 2010. Last updated at 14:37

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A second-hand car salesman from Caerphilly has been fined £10,000 for selling a car whose front wheel came off as its new owner drove it home.

Alwyn James, trading as Pontygwindy Trade Centre, sold the Peugeot 106 to the newly qualified driver from Merthyr Tydfil for £900 in June last year.

On the drive home from the garage a front wheel came off the vehicle and bounced along the road towards other cars.

At the time of sale, the garage acknowledged that the vehicle had a “clunking noise coming from the front”.

When Trading Standards investigated they found the car was missing nuts from all four wheels.

they also found the alloy wheels had been incorrectly fitted using the vehicle’s standard wheel nuts.

The vehicle owner returned to the garage to complain, and was told that the car was sold to him on a trade basis, and was ‘sold as seen’.

Both of these statements are criminal offences when cars are sold to consumers.

On Thursday April 15, Caerphilly Magistrates Court fined James and his company for the safety offences and for trying to restrict the vehicle owners right to claim a refund.

James admitted the charges and was personally fined £2,000.

His company, Reach UK Vehicle Management Ltd, trading as Pontygwindy Trade Centre, was also fined £8,000 for the same offences.

Councillor Lyn Ackerman, cabinet member for the environment said: “This was an extremely serious set of circumstances, which could have proven fatal.

“I am pleased that the court has reflected the seriousness of these offences in the outcome of the case.”

Jacqui Morgan, Caerphilly County Borough Council’s trading standards and licensing manager, said: “This case is unfortunately indicative of the level of complaints in the second hand car market at present.

“Since 2008 we have seen an increase of over 100% in complaints about the second-hand car trade.

“The reasons for this unprecedented increase are unknown, but are thought to be a reflection of the economic downturn and the reluctance of certain car traders to put faults right.

“The vast majority of second hand car traders in Caerphilly county borough do uphold the law and have good systems in place to ensure legal compliance, however it is a sad fact that a small minority of dealers have their eye only on a quick profit.”

James was also ordered to pay the council £702.84 court costs and a £15 victim surcharge in addition to the fines.

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