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Car dealer found guilty of selling written off PHV described as ‘like new with no hidden issues’

A car dealer has been ordered to pay more than £1,600 and carry out 100 hours of community work after misleading a Sedgley resident into buying a written off private hire vehicle (PHV).

Pryzemyslaw Solecki who traded as South West Car Sales on Facebook was in Dudley Magistrates' Court on Wednesday 11 January following an investigation by Dudley Council’s trading standards.

He pleaded guilty to one count of fraud after misleading a Sedgley consumer into buying a car which he described as like new with no hidden issues. The car was in fact an insurance write off and ex-private hire car.

Solecki also admitted fraudulently stating in an invoice that by signing the document the consumer accepted the car was a trade sale and a non-running vehicle. This was an attempt to avoid paying a refund to the consumer.

The vehicle examiner commented that the phrases used in the transaction were extremely misleading as the vehicle was not in excellent condition at the time of sale.

The examiner also stated “that the vehicle had previously been declared an insurance write off and had been poorly repaired, including the refitting of the broken headlight assembly, at some stage in its life”.

After Dudley Trading Standards intervened, the Sedgley consumer received a full refund of £2,650 from the car dealer.

At Dudley Magistrates' Court, the court heard that the trader had a previous conviction, before sentencing Solecki to a 12-month community order to carry out 100 hours of non-paid work.

In addition, Solecki was ordered to pay £1,500 towards prosecution costs with a victim surcharge of £114, backed by a collection order to be paid in 28 days.

Councillor Ian Bevan, cabinet member responsible for trading standards, said: “This prosecution shows that we will not tolerate traders that try to evade their responsibilities by claiming a trade sale to be a private sale.

“Online car sales rose in popularity through the pandemic. Car traders must describe vehicles accurately and fairly but consumers also need to be extremely cautious about buying vehicles in this way.”


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