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National Consumer Agency secures conviction against Cork Trader for sale of clocked car

Case highlights potential pitfalls when buying a second-hand car

25 June, 2013 – Following an investigation and subsequent prosecution by the National Consumer Agency, Mr Damien Hayes, a car salesman trading as Damien Hayes Car Sales, Kanturk, Co. Cork, was today (25 June, 2013) convicted at Mallow District Court for a breach of the Consumer Protection Act 2007.

Mr Hayes was convicted of providing false information in relation to a vehicle’s mileage. Following conviction, the National Consumer Agency applied for and was granted a compensation order of €1,750 which Mr Hayes will now have to pay to the consumer he misled. The compensation must be paid to the consumer in full within six months.

Commenting on the outcome of the case, Karen O’Leary, Chief Executive of the National Consumer Agency, said, “The National Consumer Agency expects traders to deal fairly and in good faith with consumers. Providing false or misleading information in relation to a vehicle’s true mileage is unfair and in breach of consumer protection legislation. This practice will be challenged and we will seek to take enforcement action against anyone who attempts to mislead consumers in this way. We will continue to investigate suspected car clocking complaints and we will have further cases before the courts in the coming months.”

Ms O’Leary added, “Consumers rely on accurate mileage information when buying a second-hand car. Buying a clocked car means that consumers are hit financially in several ways. Firstly, they pay substantially more than they should for the car. Secondly, higher mileage on a car may often mean more costly maintenance and servicing than expected and could give rise to potential safety issues. Thirdly, they may find it more difficult to sell the car on at a later stage. Consumers should take care when buying second-hand cars and exercise caution to avoid being misled and paying more for a car than they need to. We have extensive information available on our website, www.nca.ie, to help consumers avoid potential pitfalls when buying a second-hand car. The second-hand car market is one that many consumers operate in, often several times during their lifetime. Not taking adequate precautions can cause serious consumer detriment and later this year, we will be launching a public awareness campaign on buying second-hand cars and what consumers should do in order to protect themselves and their money.”