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Friday, 24 June 2011

Consumer protection applies on the Internet too!

In fact, if anything, doing business online is even more ferociously regulated than doing business in the real world - a topic I have to talk about shortly at an Auto Retail Network workshop. And the text for my sermon is conveniently provided in this article which I'll be writing up for the next edition of Motor Law, and for Auto Retail Network's Bulletin. The gist of it is that a used car dealer sold a Laguna on eBay. It was described as “part exchange car to clear with tax and MOT”, but not described as "unroadworthy", except for a statement to that effect on the receipt. The dealer - not only the business, which seems to be a limited company, but also the individual responsible - was prosecuted, which shows that rogues can't rely on being able to hide behind the corporate veil.

The defendants pleaded guilty to offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 relating to the eBay advert being untruthful and misleading. Sandwell Magistrates fined the company £3,000 and its director £800, and also awarded £1,200 in compensation. Add costs and victim surcharges and the total is not far short of £10,000.

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