'Dodgy' Hockliffe car trader fined almost £20,000 after misleading customers

A Hockliffe car dealer has been fined again after Central Bedfordshire Council’s Trading Standards Officers continued to receive of complaints about his trading practices, despite him being prosecuted in 2017.

Syed Shahryar Kamal, 32, of Hilton Car Supermarket on the A5 in Hockliffe, pleaded guilty to three breaches of consumer protection law at Luton Magistrates Court on 22 July.

Hilton Cars

Hilton Cars

The court heard that Trading Standards Officers received several complaints from Hilton Car Supermarket customers between September 2017 and March 2018.

All of the customers had problems with their vehicles shortly after driving them away from the premises, and experienced difficulty in exercising their consumer rights.

One of the customers bought a BMW with an advertised mileage of 95,000, only to find a few months later that it had in fact travelled in the region of 250,000 miles. The customer had problems with the car from day one, but was denied any redress by the garage.

Hilton Car Supermarket had also falsely claimed in an advertisement that the vehicle was ‘Trading Standards Approved’, when they had neither applied for, nor been awarded approval.

Another customer bought a Jaguar after being told that it had a full-service history, a spare key and had been well-maintained. He never received the service history or second key, despite contacting the garage on numerous occasions. The car also developed a fault within a few miles of leaving the Hilton Car Supermarket premises.

The third customer bought a car from Hilton Car Supermarket which was described as having two previous keepers. It had, in fact, had three, one of which was a hire car business. Again, the customer experienced problems with the car, but had difficulty in getting faults put right.

Kamal, of New Bedford Road, Luton, was fined £2,550 and was also directed to pay compensation to the buyers and for the prosecuting party’s legal costs, leading to total fines of £19,631.50.

Kamal was previously prosecuted back in 2017 by the council’s Trading Standards officers for three breaches of the same consumer law, and was fined a total of £2,310. The court heard that the council’s Trading Standards officers had visited Hilton Car Supermarket shortly after the prosecution to discuss ways to prevent such offences reoccurring. Mr Kamal was not at the premises and, despite assurances from his staff that he would be in touch with them, the council was not contacted.

Cllr Ian Dalgarno, portfolio holder for community services at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “There is no place for disreputable traders in Central Bedfordshire, particularly those who have been found guilty of flouting the law in the past.

“This council will continue to take action against illicit businesses as part of our continuing battle to protect consumers and reputable traders across our county.

“We hope that this latest prosecution will act as a deterrent to not only to Mr Kamal, who now has multiple criminal convictions against his name, but also to other businesses who attempt to cheat customers and deny them their statutory rights.”

For more information about the Trading Standards and Public Protection work that the council does, visit www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/tradingstandards.