By Denna Bowman
A used car dealership has landed in court after supplying an unroadworthy courtesy car and having two vehicles on its forecourt with bald tyres.
Prosecutor Iwan Davies told Neath Magistrates Court that the tyres offences came to light after a customer was given a Ford Ka as a courtesy car from Trade Centre Wales based in Neath Abbey last May.
He said: “While driving and stopping on the A48, he examined the tyres and noticed the front tyre was defective”.
The tyre was later examined by an authorised inspector who found it to be below the minimum tread of 1.6mm, and had ply cords which were exposed.
Mr Davies said trading standards then called at the Trade Centre Wales business park in Neath Abbey on June 3 following a complaint about the bald tyre on the courtesy car.
He said officers noticed two cars, a Kia Picanto and a Ford Focus, for sale on the forecourt which also had tyres below the minimum tread.
Mr Davies also told the court one of the staff members at Trade Centre Wales discovered after visiting a dealer about the tyre issue, that they had been measuring them incorrectly.
“They did not realise they had to measure on each side,” said Mr Davies.
He told the court that the company had no previous offences.
Anthony Vines, defending, said the problem with the courtesy car was down to a “system error”.
He said the system at the time the car went out was “not as robust” as it is now.
However, district judge Richard Williams said the problem with the tyre was self-evident.
He told the court: “Quite frankly, from the picture I have of the vehicle, as opposed to any technical training, one need only be awake [to see it].”
Referring to the two cars on the forecourt, Mr Vines said they would not have been sold in the condition that trading standards found them in.
He said company policy was not to allow customers to test drive or take a car away on the same day.
He told the court that the company takes customer care very seriously.
For the offence of supplying a Ford Ka in an unroadworthy condition, the company was fined the maximum penalty of £5,000.
However, this was reduced by £500 because of the company’s guilty plea.
Judge Williams said this car was used by a consumer “in a condition where it was foreseeable that one or both front tyres might have failed during that journey causing serious consequences”.
For the other two offences of possessing cars in an unroadworthy condition, the company was fined £2,250 with credit given for the guilty pleas.
In addition, Trade Centre Wales was ordered to pay costs of £1,332.50 and a victim surcharge of £15.