Trading Standards' warning to car buyers

CAR buyers were today warned to beware of the dangers of purchasing vehicles from the side of the road after a man had his car banned just days after he bought it.

CAR buyers were today warned to beware of the dangers of purchasing vehicles from the side of the road after a man had his car banned just days after he bought it.

The warning came after Ipswich man, Ben Ferguson was handed a conditional discharge by magistrates and ordered to pay £2,200 in court costs after he admitted selling the unroadworthy vehicle from the Ravenswood roundabout in Ipswich.

The case against Ferguson, of Trefoil Close, has prompted Trading Standards officers to urge people looking for new cars to take extra precautions.

It was one of the first of its type brought by Suffolk County Council's trading standards department, which today said it had noticed an increase in the number of cars offered for sale on the side of roads in and around Ipswich.


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Marc Titford, senior trading standards officer with the council, said: “It is becoming more common. We have noticed a great deal of them out and about.”

Stuart Clarke, of Meadows Close, Trimley St Martin, bought his 1992 Toyota Celica GTA in March after spotting it on the roadside while on his way to a friend's house in Ravenswood.

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He called the seller and met him at the roundabout the following day, along with his brother who is a mechanic. The pair inspected the car but found no fault with it and Mr Clarke paid £1,500 for it.

However after just one day he detected a problem with the car and when it was inspected in a garage a number of faults were found with it.

A subsequent check by an expert from the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) led to a prohibition notice being placed on the car.

Mr Clarke was later forced to sell it at auction and received only £311 for it.

Today the 30-year-old warned other potential car buyers against purchasing from the side of the road.

The Felixstowe port policeman said: “I was devastated by the condition of the vehicle.

“I would never pick a car from the side of the road again and buy it without it being checked.”

Trading Standards prosecuted the seller under Section 75 of the Road Traffic Act, which prevents people from supplying unroadworthy vehicles.

Mr Titford said: “When buying from the roadside you're taking people on trust and at the end of the day there are unscrupulous people out there.”

Anyone concerned they may have purchased an unroadworthy vehicle should call the Consumer Direct hotline on 0845 4040506.

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