Tyrone car dealer sold Audi without mentioning it had been ‘written-off’

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A Co Tyrone motor trader has been given a two year conditional discharge and ordered to pay compensation of £2,850 at Omagh Magistrates’ Court.

In a case brought by the Trading Standards Service of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Ian Jameson, who traded as I J Motors in Trillick, had previously pleaded guilty to two charges under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

The Trading Standards Service investigation confirmed that the vehicle had substantial damage in 2012 and Mr Jameson was aware of the extent of the damage prior to selling the car.

In July 2014, the Trading Standards Service received a complaint from a consumer who had purchased an Audi car from Ian Jameson. Mr Jameson failed to mention that the car had sustained accident damage and been classified as a Category D insurance write-off. Such a classification substantially reduces a car’s value.

In this consumer’s case he paid £4,550 for the car but when he went to trade it in a dealer offered him £1,200 in part exchange.

The Trading Standards Service investigation confirmed that the vehicle had substantial damage in 2012 and Mr Jameson was aware of the extent of the damage prior to selling the car.

Eamon Mc Partland of the Trading Standards Service said: “Car dealers must ensure that all descriptions applied to vehicles are truthful. Additionally, they must not leave out anything important that might affect a consumer’s decision to buy a car. In this case, Mr. Jameson’s behavior in the sale of the vehicle fell well short of the trading practices expected of traders selling used cars to consumers.”

Trading Standards offers the following advice when buying a used car:

· Buy from a reputable dealer: Vehicles may cost more when bought from a main dealer but they will have carried out checks on the vehicle’s history before offering cars for sale.

· Bring someone with you that knows about cars: Excessive wear and tear on the driver’s seat, steering wheel and foot pedals may be inconsistent with the indicated mileage.

· Ensure that you see all of the relevant original paperwork: The logbook, the car’s service history and MOT certificates. With this information, you can contact the previous owners of the vehicle as well as the garages that carried out the servicing work to ask questions about the history of the vehicle. Everything should be present and correct. If it is not, simply walk away from the deal.

· Carry out an online vehicle mileage and accident check, before you buy the car.

· If you know the registration and chassis numbers of a vehicle, you can contact the Driver Vehicle Agency to enquire about the recorded mileage of the vehicle at its previous MOTs. The chassis number is visible on the bottom left corner of most car windscreens.

· If buying from a “private” seller, get proof of the seller’s name and address.

· Finally, never buy a car from the side of a road and pay cash to somebody you don’t know.

Anyone who believes they have been sold goods which have been falsely described should contact Consumerline on 0300 123 6262.