A Peugeot dealership in Gateshead has been fined £5,000 for failing to disclose to a customer a ‘one previous owner’ car had been used by a car hire firm.
The case followed an update by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)last year that dealers need to tell customers if a used car was sourced from a rental company for fleet.
The ASA ruling was then followed up a year later by a story in the Sun newspaper on how the ruling was being breached.
In this case, Peugeot’s Robins and Day dealership sold a customer a car with ‘one previous owner’, but failed to disclose this previous owner was car hire giant Europcar.
The customer bought the car in January 2017 for around £10,000. Within days the new owner said he noticed a burning smell in the car, and returned it to the dealership, only to be told that the clutch needed replacement.
The dealer said this problem was likely due to his wife’s driving style, and told him he would need to cover the majority of the £650 bill for replacing the part.
It was only after he received the V5 registration documents weeks later he found the previous owner was Europcar. He then complained to trading standards which, after investigating, was able to confirm the previous keeper had leased the car to Europcar Group UK, and that it had been used as a daily rental car with multiple users.
Gateshead Council Trading Standards prosecuted Peugeot Citroen Retail UK Limited for an offence under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. The company pleaded guilty to the offence and were fined £5,000 plus costs of £500. The court also ordered the company to pay the customer £1,000 in compensation.
Anneliese Hutchinson, service director for Development, Transport and Public Protection, said: “It is extremely disappointing to find a main car dealership failing to provide its customers with this kind of information.
“It is reassuring that the courts appear to have taken this matter very seriously, and imposed a significant fine and order for compensation.”