A car trader from Essex has pleaded guilty to selling an unroadworthy car described by the magistrates as a ‘death trap’ to a Dorset consumer.

Adam Hussain, 33, of Hornchurch, Essex who is the sole director of The Car Company Essex Ltd., ran a second-hand car sales business trading as RNM Car Sales Essex.

In March 2022, a Dorset consumer was looking to replace their family car and was specifically interested in a Nissan Pathfinder. They did an internet search and found one being advertised by Mr Hussain on Gumtree. They contacted Mr Hussain and he described the car as being ‘a good, solid vehicle’ and said that it would come with a new MOT and 3 month warranty. The customer agreed to buy the vehicle and Mr Hussain stated he would deliver it for an additional fee.

The car was delivered on 16 March 2022 by Mr Hussain and he handed the customer the new MOT certificate and a pre-delivery inspection form. A few days later, the customer took it to their local garage for a general checkup, as they had previously bought a vehicle that turned out to be unroadworthy. The mechanic quickly identified that the car had severe corrosion around the suspension, the handbrake did not work, and the exhaust system was leaking. These faults would mean that the vehicle would fail its MOT.

The consumer complained to Dorset Council’s Trading Standards service and an officer arranged for an independent vehicle expert to inspect the car. He identified the same faults and concluded that the vehicle was unroadworthy and dangerous to drive. He also noted that the car had previously failed an MOT test some 18 months earlier with the same faults.

The customer attempted to obtain a refund from Mr Hussain but was told that the car had been ‘sold as seen’ and was a ‘trade sale.’

Mr Hussain was charged with selling an unroadworthy vehicle under the Road Traffic Act 1988 and for trying to restrict the customer’s consumer rights by using the terms ‘sold as seen’ and ‘trade sale’ under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

Mr Hussain appeared at Weymouth Magistrates Court on 5 September and pleaded guilty to the charges. The magistrates told him that this was a serious offence and fined him £1,000, ordered him to pay compensation to the consumer of £3,740, and awarded the Council’s full costs of £2,124.25.

Cllr Laura Beddow, Dorset Council’s Portfolio Holder for Culture, Communities and Customer Services:

Our Trading Standards team work with the motor trade in Dorset to ensure they trade fairly and comply with all consumer legislation. When traders are found to be breaking the law and attempting to restrict consumer rights robust action will be taken against them.”

If you’re looking to purchase a new vehicle or need a repair, service or MOT, Trading Standards always advises you get a range of quotes from reputable traders, either through recommendations from people you trust or through an approval scheme such as the Trading Standards-run Buy With Confidence approved business scheme. All Buy With Confidence scheme members have been vetted and approved by Trading Standards to ensure that they operate in a legal, honest and fair way.

For general consumer advice, Dorset residents should contact Citizens Advice on 0800 144 8848.

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