General, HP, Surrey County Council, Trading Standards

Surrey family of car dealers sentenced

A father and two sons have been ordered to pay £3,700 after admitting mis-selling used cars.

Charles Wenman Snr, Charles Wenman Jnr and Mark Wenman falsely advertised second-hand cars as being covered by a 12-month warranty from a warranty company.

The trio, who run Cranleigh-based dealership Walton Motors, were sentenced by Redhill magistrates following an investigation by Surrey County Council’s trading standards officers.

Richard Walsh, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Localities and Community Wellbeing, said: ‘False claims about products for sale not only mislead consumers but also undermine other businesses and our trading standards teams will do all they can to stamp out these practices.

‘The claims made by these car dealers swayed customers into buying cars they might not otherwise have wanted and landed some of them with unexpected repair bills when faults developed with the vehicles sold.’

The Wenmans were sentenced on 27 October following a prosecution brought by Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards*.

Magistrates heard that the Walton Motors website claimed all cars were sold with a third party 12-month warranty provided by Warranty Management Services. These claims were often reiterated verbally to would-be customers who visited the dealership to view the cars on sale.

In fact, very few of the cars sold by Walton Motors were actually covered by WMS warranties.

Customers complained to trading standards after needing repairs to their vehicles and discovering no warranty had been registered.

Florence Iveson, defending the trio, told the court the offences were down to the haphazard way in which the business was run rather than dishonesty.

All three defendants admitted one count under 2008 Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading regulations, relating to false claims on the Walton Motors website between 24 September 2014 and 16 December 2014.

Charles Wenman Jnr, 30, of Sandy Lane, Walton-on-Thames admitted a further offence under the regulations, relating to a claim made to a customer that a vehicle was covered by a 36-month WMS warranty.

He was fined £350 for each offence and made to pay a victim surcharge of £35 and costs of £1,064, giving a total of £1,799.

Charles Wenman Snr, 52, of Guildford Road, Cranleigh was fined £400 and made to pay a victim surcharge of £40 and costs of £532, giving a total of £972.

Mark Wenman, 27, of Dunsfold Road, Alfold was fined £350 and made to pay a victim surcharge of £35 and costs of £532, giving a total of £917.

* Buckinghamshire and Surrey operate a joint trading standards service

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