Sheffield Crown Court, Nov 2022Sheffield Crown Court, Nov 2022


Judge condemns used car dealer for selling ‘dangerous’ SUV

  • Mark Roberts sold Nissan Pathfinder he said was in excellent condition
  • However, the buyer couldn’t open driver’s door when he got home
  • Service revealed ‘significant’ corrosion problems plus chassis holes
  • Trading standards were called in and it failed an MOT test
  • Buyer was also missold a warranty and misled over mileage
  • Used car dealer will end up having to pay more than £20,000

Time 10:35 am, August 29, 2023

A used car dealer has been condemned by a judge for selling a Nissan 4×4 that turned out to be dangerous to drive. 

Mark Roberts, 62, pleaded guilty to selling the Nissan Pathfinder despite it being in a dangerous state. He also pleaded guilty to placing a misleading advertisement, misleading the buyer over the mileage, and misselling a warranty.

Roberts, who runs Fleet Cars Direct, of Milethorn Lane, Doncaster, sold the SUV for £4,300, having reduced it from £4,590 after the buyer – who saw the vehicle advertised in Auto Trader – noticed that the wheel arches had rust, reported the Sheffield-based newspaper The Star.

He also persuaded the trusting buyer – who lived in Sheffield and was a family man with children – to buy a 12-month warranty for £395 when he shouldn’t have, an investigation by Doncaster trading standards officers found after the buyer lodged a complaint with them.

Prosecutor Brian Outhwaite was reported as telling Sheffield Crown Court, pictured, that the advert described the Pathfinder as having been looked after well and was in excellent condition.

It was also said to have a full service history, 12-month MOT and excellent bodywork.

However, the buyer spotted that the vehicle’s latest MOT was four months earlier and had advisories about corrosion and rust.

In addition, when he drove the 12-year-old SUV home, the door on the driver’s side wouldn’t open and it transpired that the warranty was for vehicles that were 10 years old.

According to The Star, Citizens Advice Direct told him to get a refund. The buyer also discovered ‘significant’ corrosion problems as well as chassis holes after a service had been carried out. In addition, he was told it would fail the MOT test and was unroadworthy.

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Trading standards at Doncaster council tested the Nissan and, sure enough, it failed the MOT test.

The buyer, who had wanted the SUV in order to tow a caravan, sent Roberts two letters in which he demanded a refund, but it’s unclear if he got his money back.

In mitigation, Dale Harris was reported as saying Roberts had never been in a criminal or civil court before, nor had he any previous convictions or civil actions against him.

But Judge Jeremy Richardson KC was quoted as telling Roberts he had made  ‘utterly erroneous and dangerous representations’, adding:  ‘In effect, [the buyer] was sold a worthless old jalopy that should never have been on the road and should never have been sold. The vehicle was dangerous.’

He noted, though, that it wasn’t normal practice for Roberts, that he had made an error, had said sorry and accepted complete responsibility.

However, the judge was also quoted as saying: ‘This is a serious example of a second-hand car salesman conducting his business operations in a comprehensibly dangerous and illegal manner.

‘He is the architect of his own misfortune and let this be a very clear warning to any rapacious, crooked second-hand car salesmen.’

Roberts was fined £6,000 and told to pay £7,395 costs. But with other related costs that weren’t subject to the proceedings, he will end up shelling out more than £20,000, The Star said.

Image: Google Street View

John Bowman's avatar

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.

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