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Clady car dealer fined for misleading commercial practice – 10/09/2010

A Clady car dealer was yesterday fined a total of £3,000 at Strabane Magistrate’s Court.

In a case brought by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment’s Trading Standards Service, Mr Frank Wray who traded as Frank Wray Motors was convicted of engaging in a misleading commercial practice under The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

This case arose following a complaint to the Trading Standards Service. The complainant, a woman in her 20’s, visited the premises of Frank Wray Motors with a view to trading-in her old car for a new one. After agreeing to buy a new car, Mr Wray informed the complainant that he could take her old car as part-exchange and arrange finance for her with a lender to facilitate the purchase. He also offered to settle the finance outstanding on her part-exchange vehicle and have the balance added on to the new credit agreement, which she agreed to.

A short time after purchasing the car, the complainant discovered that the outstanding finance had not been settled and that she was actually paying for two cars at the same time. She contacted Mr Wray who reimbursed her for the amount of the monthly direct debit and he assured her that the finance on the part-exchange car would be cleared before the next payment was due. This scenario was repeated for a number of months until Mr Wray closed down his business and refused to make any more payments.

The complainant was left with a debt of over £11,000 for a vehicle she no longer owned.

Damien Doherty of the Trading Standards Service said: “Settling outstanding finance on part-exchange vehicles by motor dealers is a common practice. It helps to facilitate the sale of new vehicles. Consumers need to be confident that when they are trading-in a vehicle with outstanding finance that the finance will be cleared when a trader undertakes to do this.”

Mr Doherty went on to say: “When a trader does not clear the outstanding finance it can leave the consumer in the extremely inconvenienced position of having to pay for two vehicles, one of which is no longer in their possession. Thankfully, the lender has now cleared the bulk of the debt but the complainant has still been left out of pocket.”

“This offending practice has a serious detrimental effect on consumers as well as law abiding motor traders, who endeavour to compete commercially with those that try to circumvent their legal obligations”.

Anyone who believes they have a similar complaint should contact Domain Scams on 0300 123 6262 or log on to the Male a Complaint section of the Domain Scams website.

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