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Thursday, 20th June 2024

Drogheda Car dealer convicted after selling same un-roadworthy car twice

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Case came to court following Consumer Protection Commission investigation

A Louth-based car dealer, Ali Fawad, and his former employer, Greenhill Motors of Boyne Business Park in Drogheda, have been convicted of knowingly selling a dangerous car without telling the consumer of the issues.

Mr Fawad was sentenced to three months in prison, suspended for 12 months, by Judge Eirinn McKiernan at Drogheda District Court on Tuesday 18 June. The Judge also fined Greenhill Motors €4,000 and ordered the company to pay legal costs of €4,500 plus VAT to the Consumer Protection Commission.

Commenting, Patrick Kenny, Member of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission said, “It is illegal for a trader to mislead a consumer as to the condition of a car. This is compounded in this case as the trader also knew the car to be un-roadworthy. This put the consumer, their family and other road users in danger.

When buying a car, consumers should be able to rely on accurate information from car dealers on a car’s history, condition and roadworthiness. The CCPC is and will continue to be very active in this sector. We encourage any consumer who believes that they have been misled by a motor trader, or indeed any trader, to contact us.”

 The CCPC prosecuted Mr Fawad and Greenhill Motors following an investigation which established that a car had been bought at auction. The dealer sold the car to a consumer who returned the car for a refund after a mechanic established it had serious mechanical issues.

The dealer then sold the car to a second consumer who also experienced serious issues.  After paying an independent engineer to assess the car, the second consumer returned the car to Greenhill Motors and secured a full refund.

It is illegal for traders to give false or misleading information about the history of a car. Unless otherwise stated, a motor trader should take all reasonable steps to ensure a car is safe and roadworthy, including completing a car history check, before making a car available for sale.

While the law sets out the rules for traders, consumers should also take a proactive approach when buying a car and use the CCPC’s online information and checklist to ensure they are getting what they pay for. Consumers who believe they have been misled by a trader can make a report to the CCPC helpline on 01-402 5555 or use the online contact form on www.CCPC.ie .

The case concerned the initial sale of a 2012 Mazda 6 from Greenhill Motors in August 2021. The vehicle had been purchased by Greenhill Motors at an auction in July 2021.

Following persistent problems, the consumer brought the car to a mechanic who said the Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) was missing. He returned the vehicle and received a full refund.

In November 2021, another consumer purchased the same car from Greenhill Motors, having seen the car advertised on Donedeal.ie. This consumer bought the car following assurances that the car was in perfect condition, that it had not been a taxi and, that it had not been crashed. 

About two weeks later, the consumer took the car to a mechanic who advised him that the car would not pass an NCT. After contacting Mr Fawad and paying an independent engineer to assess the car, the car was returned to Greenhill Motors and a full refund was secured.

At an inspection by the CCPC, Mr. Fawad responded to a series of questions and was subsequently interviewed under caution. He denied knowledge of the missing DPF and the deficiencies with the vehicle.

The CCPC alleged that Mr Fawad and Greenhill Motors had misled or deceived the consumer in relation to the risks presented by mechanical deficiencies relating to the car and the requirement to replace the DPF in breach of section 43 of the Consumer Protection Act 2007. Further summonses alleged that Mr Fawad and Greenhill Motors had sold a dangerous car contrary to Regulation 7(3) of the European Communities (General Product Safety) Regulations 2004.

Handing down the sentences, Judge Eirinn McKiernan underscored the dangers of selling defective vehicles and found that Mr. Fawad and Greenhill Motors did not act with the care and diligence required when selling the vehicle.

Greenhill Motors did not attend court.

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