A pair of dodgy car dealers have been ordered to hand over almost £100,000.
Traders Mubasshar Azam and Amar Ahmed, who had garages in Darwen and Preston, were ordered to pay back £79,186 and £10,000 respectively in a Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 hearing brought by Lancashire Trading Standards. The £10,000 in costs was also awarded to Lancashire County Council for bringing the case.
If the traders do not pay the awards in full within 12 weeks they will receive a jail term for one year and six months respectively. The order follows a Trading Standards prosecution at Preston Crown Court on in October 2017 when both traders were sentenced to 200 hours unpaid work orders, three year director disqualification, and either curfews or Rehabilitation Activity days.
The case was taken after complaints from around the country showing the traders were selling shoddy vehicles and refusing to compensate customers when things went wrong. In many cases vehicles broke down shortly after purchase. The traders used various phrases including “spares/repairs invoice” and “restocking fee” to refuse consumers their legal rights on cars that were not of satisfactory quality.
Part of the £99,186 will go to customers who bought shoddy vehicles from the pair’s business Rockbank Motors Ltd and gave statements to investigators.
The rest of the award is split between the Government, the courts and Lancashire County Council’s trading standards team to spend on consumer safeguarding work.
County Coun Albert Atkinson, deputy leader of Lancashire County Council, said “Lancashire Trading Standards received 560 complaints about second hand cars this year.
"We run a Persistent Traders Project where car dealers causing problems are tackled, firstly with advice and assistance, and secondly, where our advice is not followed and where complaint levels do not improve, by further measures including prosecutions of those who continue to flaunt their legal duties to consumers. Car traders should take note that we expect fair and honest trading within our borders.”
During the 2017 trial the court heard one customer travelled from his Sunderland home to buy a Land Rover Freelander from the Preston site.
Around 110 miles into his trip home the car started to lose power and emit thick smoke before breaking down.