Car trader ordered to pay almost £20,000 for misleading customers again

Time 1:09 pm, July 30, 2019

A BEDFORDSHIRE car dealer has been fined for a second time after trading standards continued to receive complaints about his working practices after he was successfully prosecuted in 2017.

Syed Shahryar Kamal, 32, of Hilton Car Supermarket on the A5 in Hockliffe, pleaded guilty to three breaches of consumer protection law at Luton Magistrates’ Court on July 22 and was ordered to pay almost £20,000 in costs, compensation and a fine.

The court was told that Central Bedfordshire trading standards officers received several complaints from Hilton Car Supermarket customers between September 2017 and March 2018. All of them had problems with their vehicles shortly after driving them away from the premises and experienced difficulty in exercising their consumer rights.

One of the customers bought a BMW with an advertised mileage of 95,000 only to find a few months later that it had in fact travelled in the region of 250,000 miles. The customer had problems with the car from day one, the court was told, but was denied any redress by the garage. Hilton Car Supermarket had also falsely claimed in an advertisement that the vehicle was ‘Trading Standards Approved’ when it had neither applied for, nor been awarded, approval.

Another customer bought a Jaguar after being told it had a full service history, a spare key and had been well maintained. He never received the service history or second key, though, despite contacting the garage on numerous occasions. The car also developed a fault within a few miles of leaving the premises.

The third customer bought a car that was described by Hilton Car Supermarket as having two previous keepers. However, it had in fact had three of them – one of which was a hire car business. Again, the customer experienced problems with the car but had difficulty in getting faults put right.

The court also heard victim impact statements from the witnesses, setting out how they had been affected by Hilton Car Supermarket’s attitude to their problems.

Kamal, of New Bedford Road, Luton, was fined £2,550 and ordered to pay compensation and costs as well, with the total coming to £19,631.50.

He was also successfully prosecuted in 2017 by the council’s trading standards officers for three breaches of the same consumer law, when he was fined a total of £2,310. The court was told that the officers had visited Hilton Car Supermarket shortly after that prosecution to discuss how to prevent such offences reoccurring but Kamal wasn’t there and, despite assurances from his staff that he would be in touch, the council wasn’t contacted.

After the case, Cllr Ian Dalgarno, executive member for community services, said: ‘There is no place for disreputable traders in Central Bedfordshire, particularly those who have been found guilty of flouting the law in the past.

‘This council will continue to take action against illicit businesses as part of our continuing battle to protect consumers and reputable traders across our county.

‘We hope that this latest prosecution will act as a deterrent not only to Mr Kamal, who now has multiple criminal convictions against his name, but also to other businesses who attempt to cheat customers and deny them their statutory rights.’

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