Wokingham based car dealer Oliver John, who trades as Purple Sky Trading, has been fined a total of £1,500 for misleading customers.
At Maidenhead Magistrates’ Court on October 7, 2011, Mr John pleaded guilty to three charges under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. The charges were brought following an investigation by West Berkshire Councils Trading Standards Service into alleged misleading omissions in relation to the sale of a Ford Focus. Wokingham Borough Council was awarded £750 in costs and a £15 victim surcharge was also ordered.
Alison Beynon, prosecuting on behalf of West Berkshire and Wokingham Trading Standards Service, told the court that the Mr John had sold the Ford Focus to a customer without informing them that the vehicle was a Category C insurance write off, even though he was in possession of this fact. The car was subsequently returned by the first purchaser and he fully refunded the customer. However, Mr John sold the car again the following day and for a second time failed to inform the purchaser of the vehicle’s history. Mr Jones was fined a total of £500 for two offences relating to the first sale and £1,000 for one offence relating to the second.
The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 introduced the concept of misleading omission into consumer law. This effectively requires a trader to make a consumer aware of any information they have that may affect a decision to purchase. The maximum fine for breach of this requirement is £5,000 per offence.
Sean Murphy, trading standards manager, said: “Customers are entitled to be in full possession of the relevant facts available when making a decision. In this case consumers were not provided with the information about the history of the vehicle which they would have wanted to take into consideration. The fact that it happened on two occasions is reflected in the penalty for the second offence”.
Anyone with any concerns that a business may be breaching consumer protection laws should contact the Trading Standards Helpline on (01635) 519 930.