Man fined for selling unsafe camper van

Posted on Wednesday 8th May 2019

 A Newport businessman who sold a VW camper van on eBay while claiming to be a private seller has appeared in court following an investigation by Newport City Council’s trading standards department.

The matter was brought to light after Neil Smith, of Heather Road, who ran a business in Cwmbran converting camper vans, used a personal account to sell the vehicle.

The court heard the camper van developed a number of faults and an independent examination highlighted that the van’s leisure battery had been installed in an unsafe manner and the LPG gas installation was not to safety standards.

Additionally the seat belt anchorage on a rear seat, installed by Smith after the initial purchase, also failed safety standards.

Smith later pleaded guilty to offences against the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 in relation to these matters after the consumer complained to Newport Trading Standards.

The investigation was hampered by Smith who claimed this was a private sale and nothing to do with his business despite the consumer taking the van to Smith’s business premises for remedial work to be done.

Smith’s denial meant the consumer’s statutory rights were being restricted. Smith later pleaded guilty to an offence against the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 for falsely creating the impress that he was not a trader.

Smith was fined a total of £4000 and ordered to pay £1,000 costs and £170 victim surcharge. He also refunded the consumer the full cost of the campervan, estimated at around £14,300.

Councillor Ray Truman, Newport City Council’s cabinet member for licensing and regulation said: “This was an extremely serious case and one which potentially could have put people’s lives in danger.

“Our trading standards team work tirelessly to ensure that people operating outside the law, and risking the safety of others in so doing, are brought to task.

“This case is further exacerbated by Mr Smith attempting to hide the fact he was a trader. I am pleased that the court emphasised the seriousness of this case in the fine imposed.”

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