A former policeman has been ordered to pay nearly £30,000 in compensation after his Storrington car dealership mislead customers.
Even though the cars were sold to new owners and payment made in full, the business, run by an ex-detective constable Aziz Saleem, did not pass the money on to sellers, say West Sussex County Council (WSCC).
The local authority claim that when the sellers tried to find out what was happening they were lied to or misled by Mr Saleem’s staff.
“They were told stories such as the car hadn’t been sold, or payment had been delayed because it had been bought on finance which still being completed,” a spokesperson said.
Chichester Magistrates Court heard that some customers had even agreed to reduce the price of their cars to help them sell. In fact, the cars had already been sold and Mr Saleem had received full payment.
Customers were then advised by a business insolvency company that the firm, Karz2Go Ltd, was in financial difficulties.
It eventually stopped trading and no money was paid to customers.
Mr Saleem, whose company operated in Worthing and Storrington, admitted nine offences of neglect as the company director, resulting in his company providing false or misleading information to the car sellers during 2011.
He was ordered to pay £29,250 compensation to his victims, £14,000 in costs, and banned for three years from being a company director.
“This was an excellent result for the customers who had been duped, and shows the difference that West Sussex Trading Standards can make for consumers who had lost large amounts of money.” said Lionel Barnard, Cabinet Member responsible for the county council-run service.
“Under civil law the car owners would have had little chance of getting their money back. However we successfully held the company director criminally liable for his actions, which meant thousands of pounds were awarded to his victims as compensation.”