Car dealer fined for cheating his customers

A used car salesman from South Somerset, who cheated his customers, has been ordered to pay £4,250 in fines and damages.

Malvin Price, 35, of The Cypress House Road, Chilton Cantelo, pleaded guilty to two charges of selling ‘misdescribed’ vehicles at a hearing at Yeovil Magistrates Court on Wednesday 16 November.

The hearing followed an investigation and prosecution brought by Devon and Somerset Trading Standards Service which was prompted by a number of complaints.

The court heard that Price, trading as Rhino Auto Care of  Chilton Cantelo had sold two vehicles, a VW Caddy and a Citroen Xsara, both in 2015.

In online adverts, Price described both as having a ‘new clutch, brakes and cambelt’ when none of these parts had been replaced on either of the vehicles.

Independent motor vehicle engineers confirmed that these parts in both cars were not new and could have presented a ‘risk to the health and safety’ of the respective drivers.

In the case of the Citroen Xsara, the engineer also concluded that the brakes were in a ‘dangerous’ condition.

Price was unable to show that he had made any checks or had any systems in place to ensure that the advertising of these vehicles was correct or to prevent the supply of false or misdescribed vehicles.

Councillor David Hall, Deputy Leader of Somerset County Council with responsibility for Trading Standards said:

“Price’s unethical behaviour could have put lives at risk and I’m pleased that Devon and Somerset Trading Standards Service have been able to bring this case to court, which is in large part down to the readiness of several victims to report their complaint and being prepared to give evidence.”

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Trading Standards said:

“This case is a reminder to us all, in order to avoid experiencing problems buying a used vehicle, I recommend using our Buy with Confidence scheme to find a business that has been vetted and approved by our trading standards team.”

Price was ordered to pay a £1,000 fine, a victim surcharge of £50, compensation totalling £1,200 and prosecution costs of £2,000.

Second-hand motors continue to be the most complained about problem to Citizens Advice consumer service.

The Citizens Advice Bureau in England and Wales helped with 14,405 used car problems between October 2012 and September 2013.

Buy with Confidence website; www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk

If you are thinking of buying a new or used car The Citizens Advice Bureau has a list of top tips at www.adviceguide.org.uk.Local traders approved by Trading Standards can be found on the

Devon and Somerset Trading Standards will continue to monitor any complaints received about used car sales in partnership with the Citizens Advice Bureau.

If you have any concerns or would like advice about your rights please telephone The Citizens Advice Bureau on 0345 0404506 or www.adviceguide.org.uk.

Businesses can also find advice on the Devon and Somerset Trading Standards website www.devonsomersettradingstandards.gov.uk or call 01392 381381.