Quissanga Baptista Alberto, director of Jet Car Sales, in High Road, Leytonstone, vanished at the end of 2012 after trading standards officials disclosed that he was under investigation.
Despite his absence, he was found guilty of four offences under the 2008 Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations at Thames Magistrates’ Court earlier this month.
Two fines of £4,000, and two of £2,000, were imposed – and Alberto, formerly of Lytchat Way, Enfield, was also told to pay a victim surcharge of £120 and costs of £3,075.
A trading standards team stepped in to look at the affairs of his company after receiving a series of complaints, the court heard.
One of the unhappy buyers had bought a Mercedes Benz ML270 in April 2012. The customer was under the impression it had a three-month warranty but it transpired there was no such arrangement in place.
This landed the purchaser with repair costs in the region of £1,000 when a number of defects were identified with the car.
A second buyer was out of pocket when he bought a Toyota Avensis said to be ‘in good condition’ in July 2012. After conducting an HPI check, he discovered the vehicle’s mileage was inaccurate. And a week after buying the car, it wouldn’t start – even with the help of AA mechanics.
Alberto disappeared after being summoned for an interview with Waltham Forest trading standards in December 2012, the magistrates heard. In total, he now owes £15,000 in unpaid fines and costs.