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Dodgy dealer disappears owing £15k

A second hand car dealer who was found guilty of four separate offences has ‘disappeared’ leaving behind unpaid fines and costs of over £15,000, not to mention disgruntled customers.

On 4 April 2014, at Thames Magistrates Court, Waltham Forest Trading Standards successfully prosecuted four offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, which requires those in trade or business to conduct their business with a standard of skill and care in their field of activity.

The prosecution was brought against Mr Quissanga Baptista Aberto, 42, of Lytchat Way, Enfield, who was the Company Director of Jet Car Sales, registered at 509-517 High Road, Leytonstone.

One area of complaint revolved around a Mercedes Benz ML270 sold on 12 April 2012 with a three month warranty. Upon driving the vehicle home, the purchaser smelt diesel emanating from the vehicle and accordingly took it to a garage.

A number of defects were discovered and repaired, but when the warranty company was contacted the owner was advised that there was no warranty registered in respect of the vehicle. As a result the purchaser was unable to recover the repair costs which amounted to around £1,000.

Upon investigation Waltham Forest Council’s Trading Standards Team discovered that the warranty company had ceased their business relationship with Jet Car Sales Ltd in March 2012.

Another problem centered on the sale of a Toyota Avensis on 2 July 2012. The buyer was informed that the vehicle was in ‘good condition’, although curiously the sales invoice they were given included a term, ‘under no circumstances shall any money be refunded after purchase of a vehicle’.

When the consumer arrived home with the vehicle he conducted an HPI check and identified that the mileage advertised was not accurate and the vehicle had more than two owners, contrary to the advertisement. A week after purchasing the car it failed to start and despite the AA attending, the vehicle could still not be made to run.

The consumer telephoned Jet Car Sales and requested a refund and when he visited on 11 July 2012 Mr Alberto asked him to leave his account number and phone number and said he would put the money into the customer’s account.  An employee arranged for the recovery of the vehicle the same day, but Mr Alberto did not keep to his agreement of refunding the money and to date the consumer has not received a refund and has not had his vehicle returned to him.

After conducting their own investigation Mr Alberto was pursued and eventually taken in for interview by Trading Standards under the provisions of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 on 13 December 2012.

During interview, he confirmed that his company issued the consumer with the sales invoice for the Toyota Avensis dated 3 July 2012 and admitted that no checks were made in relation to vehicle. He also confirmed that his company described the mileage of the said vehicle in the advertisement.

Shortly after the interview, Mr Alberto ‘disappeared’ and accordingly papers were served on the companies registered office and the case was heard in Mr Alberto’s absence. The court agreed two fines of £4,000 and two of £2,000 for the four offences. Magistrates also ordered Mr Alberto to pay a Victim Surcharge of £120 and full costs of £3,075.

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