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Dublin motor dealer caught selling clocked car

Timmy Keane
Timmy Keane

A DUBLIN motor dealer is awaiting sentence for selling a clocked car.

Timmy Keane (64) with an address at Harold's Cross Cottages, Dublin 6, has been ordered to pay €5,000 compensation to cover the loss suffered by a customer who bought a four-door '10-reg Ford Focus from him on Nov. 6, 2013.

The case at Dublin District Court has been brought by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) who have prosecuted him before for the same type of offence.

He is accused of providing misleading information on the history of the Ford Focus at his premises in Harold’s Cross.

It was alleged a false kilometre reading on the odometer was given and this was likely to convince an ordinary customer to make a transactional decision they otherwise might not have made. The charge is contrary to Section 43 of the 2007 Consumer Protection Act.

Judge John O'Neill noted on Monday that Keane was pleading guilty to that charge. Prosecuting barrister Carl Hanahoe told the court Keane has a prior criminal conviction for a similar offence.

A second charge for failing to disclose the car had been previously crashed was withdrawn but Mr Hanahoe said evidence of both counts will be adduced. The loss to the consumer has been identified as €5,000 and Keane has agreed to pay that amount to the buyer who will keep the car, the court was told.

His solicitor said his client is in poor health and now employed part-time. He is on disability benefit but allowed to work 20 hours a week. Keane, who did not address the court, consented to the case being adjourned until December to allow him time to pay the compensation.

Noting the guilty plea, Judge O'Neill said the consumer had to be protected. Sentencing and hearing of the CCPC's evidence will take place after the customer has been reimbursed.

A repeat conviction for the offence can also result in a 12-month sentence, a €5,000 fine and having to pay the prosecution costs.

Cleared of any wrong doing was Alan Harford of Lower Channel Road, Rush, Co Dublin, and his company Northsidemotors Ltd who had each faced a single count of misleading consumers about the four-door '10-reg Ford Focus.

Mr Hanahoe, for the CCPC, confirmed that the charge against him and the company were being withdrawn.

Commenting, Isolde Goggin, Chairperson of the CCPC said, “The purchase of a car is a very significant decision and consumers should be able to trust and rely on the information provided by car dealers, so they can make a fully informed purchase.

The vehicle sector is a priority for the CCPC and we will take action against traders who attempt to mislead consumers.

If consumers have information regarding a trader that has provided false information about a car’s condition or mileage, they can contact the CCPC’s consumer helpline on 1890 432 432.

To help consumers make informed purchases and to avoid potential pitfalls when buying a second-hand car the CCPC has extensive information available on our website at consumerhelp.ie/buying-a-car.”