Faulty cars found in second-hand sting in Welwyn Garden City

UNDERCOVER Trading Standards officers found unroadworthy or faulty cars in a sting operation.

They posed as second-hand car buyers at garages in Welwyn Garden City, Watford and Hemel Hempstead.

Four second-hand vehicles – a Nissan Micra, Ford Galaxy, Honda Accord and Renault Scenic – were bought and revealed the potential pitfalls of buying used motors.

The cars were tested by a police vehicle examiner.

The Ford Galaxy was deemed to be unroadworthy as it had a loose and insecure battery and there was excessive wear in one of the steering joints.

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One of the rear seats was also unusable as there was not a suitable seat belt restraint fitted to it.

The other three cars were found to have minor faults including a faulty spare tyre, faulty driver window, under-inflated tyres, and an incorrectly fitted rear light bulb.

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The Road Traffic Act 1988 makes it an offence to sell vehicles for use on the road which are in an unroadworthy condition.

The trader who sold the unroadworthy car will be investigated, with the maximum penalty being three months’ imprisonment and a �2,500 fine.

Hertfordshire Trading Standards received complaints about the premises targeted.

Guy Pratt, assistant director for community protection at the county council, said: “No matter how much or little you pay for a vehicle, you are entitled to expect that it is safe, roadworthy and complies with the law.

“Be aware that a current MOT certificate is not an indication of a vehicle’s roadworthiness.

“Consumers should buy from legitimate businesses that inspect vehicles before putting them on sale.

“If we can prevent just one accident by urging drivers to get cars checked before they buy, it will have been worth it.”

Andy Rivers, crash investigation and vehicle examiner for Herts police, said: “Although some of these defects may appear minor and, therefore, insignificant, in my experience, they can become contributory factors in serious injury, or even fatal, road traffic collisions.”

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