Trading Standards officers working to put the brakes on those who fail to protect the public have successfully prosecuted two car dealerships that offered vehicles with illegal tyres for sale.
Every year, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council Trading Standards officers, as well as an independent expert, conducts a survey of the vehicles being offered for sale on car dealership forecourts across the county borough.
Checking essential safety issues such as tyre tread, windscreen wipers, brakes and more, the annual survey forms a critical part of the ongoing, proactive work of Trading Standards to; support industry excellence, protect consumers and reassure residents.
The latest survey happened last summer and, as well as a number of warnings and guidance notes issued to car garages, also led to charges being made against two traders.
John Gareth Pritchard, trading as JP Trade Sales, The Woodlands, Llantwit Fadre, who was charged with one offence under Regulation 5 of the General Product Safety Regulations 2005, relating to a Peugeot 206 which had a front tyre worn below the legal limit.
The offence was exacerbated by the fact a potential customer had been allowed to test drive the vehicle in that condition.
He admitted the offence when the case was heard at Pontypridd Magistrates’ Court on February 1. He told the court the vehicle had been taken in part exchange from a customer and that a new tyre and MOT would have been secured before the vehicle was sold. It was due to an oversight that the vehicle was put up for sale in that condition.
He said he was a small businessman trying to make a start and that he had rectified the problem as soon as it was identified. He also assured the court he had not done anything like that before or since.
As a result, he was fined £200 and asked to pay £100 towards costs and a £15 victim surcharge.
The second case was against Cars R Us Ltd of Canal Road, Cwmbach, which was also heard at Pontypridd Magistrates’ Court on February 1, related to two offences under Regulation 5 of the General Product Safety Regulations 2005. The charges were made after a Hyundai Tucson had a rear tyre worn below the legal limit and a Citroen C2 had a front tyre worn below the legal limit.
The firm told the court they only checked over vehicles once they were sold, not when they were offered for sale, but had since changed and improved its system.
The court was also told the Hyundai belonged to a relative of one of the directors, but they accepted responsibility that they were responsible for the sale. They also stated the Citroen was indoors and had only arrived that morning, but admitted they had missed the bald tyre.
Defence also stated the faults were rectified as soon as possible and that Cars R Us accepted there was an issue that had now been dealt with.
As a result, the firm was fined £460 and ordered to pay £100 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.
David Jones, Head of Community Protection at Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, said: “Hundreds of cars are being offered for sale to our residents at any given time across the county borough and we work proactively to protect those consumers.
“We have to ensure that every vehicle that is bought by a resident is driven off of the car forecourt in a safe and roadworthy condition. This protects them, their families and other road users.
“The annual forecourt survey is an important part of that proactive work and we are pleased to see the trade responding to that work and driving up safety standards as a result. Where further action is needed, we have responded robustly.
“I hope the results of these successful court cases – and the promised return of the forecourt survey this summer – serve as a reassurance to residents and consumers and also as a message to the trade.
“It is also important for those in the industry to be aware they can be proactive and seek advice and assistance to ensure they are operating legally from us at any time.”
Find out more on the Trading Standards pages