Northern Ireland

Carrickfergus car dealer fined for misleading customer

A County Antrim car dealer has been fined £300 for misleading a customer.

Blair Buchanan, who trades as Blair Buchanan Car Sales, at Craigs Road, Carrickfergus, failed to tell a buyer the car she bought had been a category C insurance write-off.

Mr Buchanan pleaded guilty to an offence under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs).

The case was brought to court by the Trading Standards Service.

The investigation arose following a consumer complaint.

Belfast Magistrates Court heard the woman bought a Vauxhall Meriva car from Mr Buchanan in March 2011.

She later discovered, when she tried to trade the car in, that the vehicle had been previously recorded as a category C insurance loss but had not been told this at any stage of her dealings with Mr Buchanan.

She said that if she had been told she definitely would not have bought the car.

Lisa Mallon of the Trading Standards Service said: "All second hand car dealers must ensure that they give consumers all the information needed to make an informed decision before a sale. Important information must not be hidden or omitted.

"In this case, the vehicle had previously been subject to an insurance loss, a fact that would have affected the selling price of the vehicle, and the consumer should have been informed of this prior to the sale.

"The consumer would not have purchased this vehicle if she had been told about the insurance write-off. This case should serve as a warning to all car dealers in Northern Ireland."

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 prohibits unfair commercial practices, which includes misleading omissions.

The Trading Standards Service said anyone who believed they had been misled about the history of a vehicle should contact Consumerline on 0300 123 6262 or online.

Although some write-offs can be legitimately allowed back on the road, almost half are beyond repair.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has provided classification of damage to vehicles that have been written off.

Category A or B must never reappear on the road, while C and D may do so following proper repair, passing an independent approved structural examination.

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