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Car dealer fined after selling unroadworthy vehicle online

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A PART-TIME car dealer who sold a vehicle in an unroadworthy condition was fined £600 and ordered to pay over £1,100 in compensation to the buyer.

Magistrate's Court building

Joao Nelio Melim da Silva (49), of Queen’s Road, admitted selling the vehicle with severe corrosion to the bulkhead in August for £1,000.

Centenier Danny Scaife said that da Silva had bought the vehicle for £350 after it had been traded in a part-exchange deal at a garage. The Centenier said that the defendant runs Nelio’s Cars and sells cars on Facebook and Jersey Insight in his own name.

The buyer saw the vehicle on Jersey Insight for £1,250 and da Silva told her that the car had a little bit of rust that he had painted over.

Centenier Scaife said that the buyer had a mechanic friend who conducted an initial viewing of the car and thought £1,000 was a fair price.

However, when the same mechanic carried out a detailed inspection a week later, the vehicle was deemed to be unroadworthy. The Centenier told the court that the buyer had incurred extra costs after having to get the vehicle towed away and scrapped and was making a compensation claim of £1,127.

Advocate Estelle Burns, defending, said that the defendant’s day job was working as a forecourt attendant. She explained that he also sold vehicles on a part-time basis.

She said: ‘The car was sold on the understanding that the purchaser would undertake the service herself. Therefore, da Silva genuinely did not know the vehicle was defective.’

She said that usually the defendant had vehicles serviced by a professional company but that on this occasion the buyer’s mechanic was to carry out the work. As a result, she submitted that he never became aware of the corrosion to the bulkhead and had he been, he would never have sold it to her in that condition.

In sentencing, Assistant Magistrate Peter Harris said: ‘If you are going to get involved in selling cars, you need to know that they are roadworthy before doing so.’

He said that introducing MOT-style testing in Jersey would address such problems and he accepted that it was not a deliberate act by the defendant.

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