A Peugeot dealership in Gateshead has been prosecuted after failing to declare a car’s previous history.
Gateshead Council Trading Standards were contacted by a customer who had bought a car from Peugeot’s Robins and Day dealership on Bensham Road, Gateshead after he discovered that his car’s ‘one previous owner’ was in fact a car hire firm.
The customer had bought the car in January 2017 for around £10,000 and was told at the time of sale that the car had had one previous owner. However, within a matter of days he noticed a burning smell in the car and returned it to the dealership, only to be told that the clutch needed replacement.
He was then told that he would need to cover the majority of the costs for the replacement - approximately £650 - himself as the dealership felt the problem had been caused by his wife’s driving style.
It was only after he received the V5 registration documents for the car a few weeks later that he noticed that the named previous keeper appeared to be the car hire firm Europcar.
He then complained to trading standards who investigated and were able to confirm that the previous keeper had leased the car to Europcar Group UK and that it had been used as a daily rental car with multiple users.
Gateshead Council Trading Standards prosecuted Peugeot Citroen Retail UK for an offence under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. The company pleaded guilty to the offence and were fined £5,000 plus costs of £500. The court also ordered the company to pay the customer £1,000 in compensation.
Anneliese Hutchinson, service director for development, transport and public protection, said: “It is extremely disappointing to find a main car dealership failing to provide its customers with this kind of information.
“It is reassuring that the courts appear to have taken this matter very seriously, and imposed a significant fine and order for compensation.”
The prosecution comes as buyers of ex-rental and former fleet cars have signed up to legal action after claiming they were mis-sold their vehicles (read more in this week’s Fleet News).
Following a ruling from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), dealers now have to disclose the full history of a car before selling it, including whether it was previously used for lease, hire or fleet purposes.