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Crackdown on illegal roadside car sales launched in Bristol
Release date: Mon, 09/07/2012
A new campaign warning people of the danger from buying cars sold illegally on Bristol’s roadsides has been launched by Bristol Trading Standards this month. Sellers, often posing as private individuals but in fact from the car trade, are also being warned that it is illegal for them to sell a car in this way.
Officers from Bristol City Council’s Trading Standards and Licensing services are working with the Police to target areas where cars are regularly advertised for sale on the side of the road.
On Friday (6 July) they were at St Mark’s Road, an area where cars are constantly being advertised for sale. They found 4 cars for sale.
"The sellers were pretending they were private individuals but after contacting them all we are confident they were in fact all car dealers trying to escape legal responsibilities to ensure the cars are of satisfactory standard," said Emyr Butler, the Trading Standards Officer leading the campaign.
After contacting the sellers and asking for the vehicles to be moved any remaining vehicles had a notice stuck on them by officers. This warned sellers they are breaking the law and also warned customers of potential problems of contacting the sellers of such cars if they subsequently turn out to have problems.
Cllr Guy Poultney, Cabinet Member for Communities.“Some of the vendors are actually car dealers illegally masquerading as private individuals to escape their legal obligations. These companies are abusing free on-street parking to lower their costs, and undercut legitimate traders. Some cars sold on the road side have previously been written off by insurance companies and since repaired, but the customer doesn't know this and by the time you find out, there's no comeback.”
Trading Standards are advising that people should only buy vehicles from reputable car dealers after receiving many complaints that cars bought in this way have been found to have a number of faults, often serious ones.
“We want consumers to know that they are taking a huge risk when they buy a car in this way. There is no guarantee that the car is roadworthy. The seller often only provides a mobile number and the buyer has few rights or ways
back” said Trading Standards Officer Emyr Butler, "Cars constantly for sale on the roadside can also blight an area and lead to complaints from residents and reputable car traders."
“There is often little we can do to help them. If people buy from someone advertising privately through magazines or websites they must make sure there is a log book, that they know the address of the seller and it is sensible to have a HPI check before parting with their cash” he said “it is also a good idea to check the Direct.gov.uk website to check the MOT history of the vehicle”.
Guidance on buying a used motor car is available at www.adviceguide.org.uk
It is a criminal offence to sell a vehicle in the street under the Local Government Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1982. Offences may also be committed under the Highways Act 1980 and the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005. Offering a vehicle for sale without indicating it is being sold in the course of business can breach Consumer Protection Act 2008