An Alnwick garage that sold a clocked car has been ordered to pay £2,315 in fines and costs – more than twice the price of the vehicle.
JRC Motors, of Willowburn Estate, pleaded guilty through managing director Richard Hunter on Monday.
Magistrates at Bedlington were told Hunter had bought the car from an auction, which noted on the invoice that the odometer reading of 93,087 miles was wrong.
But he advertised it on eBay in November last year, saying: “This Mondeo has only covered 93,000 miles.”
It was bought for £900 by Michael McGee for his son.
He used an MoT certificate to trace the car’s history and found a mismatch in mileage.
In January 2011, the mileage was 171,949.
He asked JRC for a refund, but received no reply, so contacted Northumberland Trading Standards, which brought the prosecution.
Lisa Bishop, prosecuting, said that before buying it, Mr McGee had emailed JRC to ask if the car was HPI-cleared and mileage warranted. The reply referred only to HPI clearance.
She said Trading Standards’ advice to traders was to make careful checks. The online ad was misleading because it contained false information that had caused the buyer to go ahead with the purchase.
John Monkhouse, for JRC, said that for two or three years the business had been making a loss, amounting to £40,000 last year. Though it was doing better this year, it was not thought to be breaking even yet.
Hunter had not altered the mileage but bought the car in that condition. “He’s gone back to the office, the paperwork’s gone in and this particular car hasn’t been VOSA-checked and it’s the normal course of business for the appropriate checks to be made. This one has slipped through the net. The defendant accepts that and is apologetic,” he said. “This is the first time the defendant has ever fallen foul of these regulations.”
The bench fined JRC £1,000 plus compensation of £750 to the buyer, £100 prosecution costs, £450 investigation costs and a £15 surcharge. They rejected an offer to pay £15 a month and ordered £100 a month.