A CORNISH car dealer has been given a suspended jail sentence after posing as a private seller to sell suspect cars and avoid any consumer rights responsibilities.
Truro magistrates sentenced Michael Popham-Blyth, of Pengarth Rise, Falmouth, to 13 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months after he pleaded guilty to running a fraudulent business, two charges of fraud, and one offence under trading standards.
The Cornishman newspaper reported that Popham-Blyth posed as a private seller, telling customers the vehicles were much-loved family cars or had been bought for a niece who no longer needed it.
He admitted to the court that in fact the cars had been sold to him as ‘trade’ and marked ‘for spares or repair’ and ‘advised not to drive away’. When customers returned with mechanical defects he denied any responsibility, the paper reported. Over a 12-month period he sold an average of one car a month, ranging in value from a few hundred to many thousands of pounds.
Popham-Blyth was ordered to pay compensation totalling £1,671.50 to two customers, a victim surcharge of £80 and prosecution costs of £2,500.
Geoff Brown, Cornwall Council’s Cabinet member for communities, said: ‘This man intended to defraud members of the public and avoid any legal claim they might try to bring against him. This case will serve as the strongest warning to anyone else tempted to scam Cornwall’s consumers.’
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