crash history | 

Car dealer convicted of misleading buyer says investigators 'have f*** all else to do'

New owner says he only found out about Mini's history a year later

Car Dealer Anthony Behan (right) talking to reporter Alan Sherry (left). Pic Gary Ashe

Alan Sherry

A CAR dealer convicted of misleading a buyer about a car's crash history has said "they really must have f*** all else to do."

Meath-based car dealer Anthony Behan pleaded guilty to the offence at Dublin District Court last Friday week following an investigation by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

But speaking to the Sunday World this week, he described the investigation and prosecution as a "waste of taxpayers' money".

Mr Behan, of Somerville, Ratoath, was prosecuted in relation to a 2008 Mini which he sold to a customer via Donedeal on September 25, 2016.

The court heard that when he sold the vehicle he told the customer that the vehicle had never been involved in a crash, but when it developed faults the following year they discovered it had been in an accident.

The court was told that the customer contacted Mr Behan after the discovery but received no satisfaction.

The CCPC launched an investigation and also discovered the car had been clocked. Mr Behan was initially charged with four offences but by the time his case went to court he was only charged with misleading a consumer in relation to the crash history of a car.

While he pleaded guilty to the offence, Mr Behan told the Sunday World and the court that he was unaware of the car's crash history as it was not recorded on the motor check website which details the vehicle's history.

Judge Halpin said the defendant "should have had the car examined by a mechanic and could have done a little bit more" to assist the consumer. He was fined €500.

Anthony Behan (Left) talking to reporter Alan Sherry (right) at his garage. Photo: Gary Ashe

Mr Behan told the Sunday World this week that he felt the prosecution was unwarranted and it had damaged his reputation.

"It's horrendous what they put me through over the past five or six years," he said. He said he would have been happy to give his customer the money back after the CCPC got involved and feels it shouldn't have gone to court as it was a waste of money.

"They're after a conviction. They want a conviction. The trouble they put dealers in and criminalise people and the whole lot.

"It's a Government body, the CCPC, and it's a waste of f***ing taxpayers money and the whole lot of it," he said.

Mr Behan said he didn't lie about the crash history as he was unaware the vehicle had been crashed.

"It was crashed in Ireland before I bought it. I purchased it off a chap in a private sale. I was an individual myself buying the car.

"They never went back to find out who sold it. Because I was an independent dealer selling cars to a consumer the CCPC went after me."

He said he is not a rogue dealer but people will think he is following the conviction.

"I don't need to fix damaged cars and sell them to the consumer and try and sting them. If I had criminal convictions the length of my arm or I was tarnished but no [I don't].

"I sell 400 or 500 cars a year. One got through the f***ing gap and all of a sudden someone wants to be a c*** about it.

"No problem, bring the f***ing letter to the house and say look you're going to court so refund the customer back his money, no problem there you go. They don't even go as far as that."

NCT test centre. Stock image

He added that the car has passed the NCT twice despite being crashed.

"I still end up in court over it. For them to even examine the car, the back bumper had to come off for them to know it was crashed.

"Do I go around to all these cars here now and pull off bumpers?"

Mr Behan said he was annoyed when his home was raided by the CCPC as part of the investigation.

"They got a warrant to search my house for proof of sale. I never denied that I sold the car. Of course I sold it.

"CCPC came in with a guard and the whole lot.

"To say it's horrific is an understatement. They said they were looking for evidence that I sold the Mini. I told them I'm not denying I sold the car so what are you looking for? They were looking for some sort of document.

Mr Behan said he only bought the car a few months after it was crashed.

"I didn't own it [at the time of the crash] but they only figured that out after. They really must have f*** all else to do."

He said he believes the CCPC suspected that he was aware the car was crashed and he fixed it himself but subsequently discovered that wasn't the case.

"The CCPC tried to tell me that I fixed it, but they found I didn't."

He said he was also unaware that car had been clocked.

"It was clocked but they dropped that summons. When it came in from the UK in 2014 it wasn't down on the data system that it was clocked." He said it's not like he's a member of some "cartel".

"I'm an ordinary person making a living," he said. "I put my hand up and say sorry about that. I'm not a bad individual."

CCPC logo

Commenting on the case, Úna Butler of the CCPC said: "Misleading a consumer is a very serious offence and traders who fail to provide complete and accurate information are liable to a criminal prosecution by the CCPC.

"When buying a car, consumers should be able to rely on accurate information from car dealers on a car's roadworthiness and crash history. The CCPC is and will continue to be very active in this sector.

"We encourage any consumer who believes that they have been misled by a motor trader, or indeed any trader, to contact us."

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