A Leeds lawyer who doubled as a second hand car salesman has been handed over £3,000 in fines and legal costs after investigators found a string of dodgy dealings at his garage.
Liaqat Ali, trading as ‘ABC Bargain Cars’ and ‘AB Bargain Cars’ of Alexandra Road, Hyde Park, was fined £1,200 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1,900 at Leeds Magistrates’ Court.
Trading standards investigators found two of Ali’s vehicles were sold, or advertised, with false odometer readings. One was advertised as taxed and tested when there was no MOT, and one was described as having a ‘genuine mileage’ when there was in fact a 10,000 miles discrepancy. Another car was advertised without any reference to it being an insurance write-off.
Ali, who had worked for a Manchester law firm, claimed to sell 36 vehicles a year. The court heard he had also attempted to illegally disclaim liability for defects in some of the cars he fraudulently sold.
Among his offences, he bought a Volvo V50 from a Morley motor auction in July 2012 with a mileage reading of 192,008 miles. He later advertised it online with a mileage of 86,972. The buyer discovered the true mileage and returned it. However, Ali continued to advertise the vehicle with the lower mileage. In January 2013, Ali sold an X-registered Fiat Punto which had been advertised as ‘taxed and tested’ even though the vehicle had in fact failed its MOT test a few days earlier. The buyer was left paying for the MOT and repairs when Ali refused to do anything.
Ali had marked his invoices with terms designed to exclude consumer rights under the Sale of Goods Act and absolve himself from all liability. This was illegal.
When interviewed by Trading Standards officers, Ali at first denied all responsibility, claiming a relative had run the business and he had no real involvement. His solicitor told the court that Ali had been at times reckless and foolish but now accepted overall responsibility.
David Lodge, divisional manager at West Yorkshire Trading Standards, said: “The case illustrates that some traders are prepared to act dishonestly and make a great deal of money by doing so. This service can and will take legal action against that minority of traders who flout their legal responsibilities.”
If you suspect a motor trader is acting dishonestly, ring the Citizen’s Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06.