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Dodgy used car dealer facing jail for selling the same ‘death trap’ Subaru TWICE in two months

  • Used car salesman warned a custodial sentence is likely after admitting dodgy dealing
  • Steven Hickman was ordered to refund a customer after selling a ‘death trap’ Subaru in March
  • He then sold it again in April after covering rust with ‘thin layer of black bitumen’
  • Trading standards describe case as ‘shocking’

Time 8:26 am, September 29, 2023

A dodgy used car dealer who twice sold a ‘death trap’ Subaru to unsuspecting customers has been warned he could be facing jail.

Steven Hickman, 62, was convicted of selling the ‘unroadworthy’ Forester in March of last year, via his company Shelby’s of Netherton in the West Midlands.

At that time he was ordered to hand the customer a full £3,500 refund but it has now transpired that he sold the car again just a month later, having failed to fix any issues.

He returned to Dudley Magistrates Court earlier this week, where he admitted to engaging in a misleading commercial practice and engaging in a commercial practice which contravened the requirements of professional diligence.

District Judge Graham Wilkinson said the dealer was ‘willing to sell a death trap’ and warned that a custodial sentence was likely.

The court heard that Hickman sold the Subaru for the second time for even more money, collecting £4,300 for the vehicle.

He described it in his advert as having ‘no nasty surprises on the inside and drives very well’.

It therefore came as a shock to the buyer when, within hours of collecting the car, it broke down with rusty, collapsed suspension.

As a result of the incident, Dudley Trading Standards was called in to investigate for a second time.


Their independent vehicle expert found that the underneath of the car had been painted in a thin layer of black bitumen in an attempt to conceal high levels of rust.

Appearing at court this week Hickman admitted failing to act with due care when supplying a product, and permitting another to use a motor vehicle when its use involved a danger of injury.

Councillor Ian Bevan, cabinet member responsible for trading standards, said: ‘This is a shocking case. Hickman had already been brought before the courts in relation to this car and was left under no illusions that it was dangerous.

‘He should have scrapped it or repaired it properly, but instead he patched it up and sold it on again, this time for even more, while knowing it was, as the judge described it, a potential death trap.

‘Dudley Trading Standards will not hesitate to investigate complaints where consumers have been misled or where they have been sold a dangerous vehicle.’

Hickman will be sentenced at Wolverhampton Crown Court on October 23.

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.



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