Car dealer jailed for selling death traps to unsuspecting customers

Man admits fraudulent trading and gets ten-month prison sentence

Car dealer jailed for selling death traps to unsuspecting customers
Dodgy traders: share your experiences in the comments below. Image: Bigstock.

A car dealer that bought unroadworthy vehicles at auction for knock-down prices and sold them on for a profit without undertaking any repairs has been jailed, The Northern Echo has reported.

Andrew Robson, who was prosecuted for the same thing in 2013, was repeatedly warned by Trading Standards officials about his trading methods, until he was finally charged last year.

The 34-year-old offered to have repairs done or give a refund but neither promise was met.

Some customers were no more than two miles into their journey after buying from Robson, before their cars developed faults.

Teesside Crown Court heard how many of the vehicles he sold were legitimate and roadworthy, but Stockton Borough Council had received complaints from at least ten people.

Robson admitted fraudulent trading and was jailed for ten months.

Judge Sean Morris told him: “You fobbed people off with a pack of lies.

“You are an inveterate liar when it comes to business.

“They were warning you time and time again.”

A man who bought a Mazda 5 after seeing it advertised on eBay as in “good working condition” found the turbocharger was broken and it had a heavy oil leak.

An elderly customer who wanted a MINI One for his grandson paid £2,900 for it, but it broke down within an hour, with the electrics failing and oil leaking.

Broken promises

Prosecutor Jonathan Walker said Robson got the car back and made numerous promises to refund the customer, but never did.

Inquiries with the previous owner revealed the vehicle had been faulty when he part-exchanged it, with the engine management light coming on and going off regularly.

The investigation also showed that during a period of more than 22 months, Robson had spent £471,000 at auctions and sold almost all of the cars for twice what he paid.

A woman looking for a motorhome came across a camper van being sold by Robson and paid a £250 deposit on the understanding he would put it through its MOT.

She travelled by train to the North-East with her husband and two dogs, hoping to pick up the van and head off on holiday, but the test had not been done.


After taking it to a local MOT centre, the couple were told it was a “death-trap”, with insecure seatbelt fittings, three seats removed and replaced with a passenger seat on wooden batons screwed into the chassis.

A woman bought a Land Rover Freelander advertised on Gumtree after Robson told her it would be fine for towing a caravan.

However, it was found to have faulty brakes, needed two new tyres.

What’s more, a short while into the journey, the Land Rover lost power and the back axle seized, leaving a £1,000 bill for it to be recovered and returned.

Another customer bought a Peugeot 206, but it soon developed faults with the gearbox, and the courtesy car provided by Robsob “blew up”, said Mr Walker.

A Vauxhall Corsa advertised on Facebook as having a valid MOT certificate did not have one, but the trader insisted it was “spot on”.

The new owner was driving a friend and three children when the brakes failed, and Mr Walker said: “It was a complete death-trap and an accident waiting to happen.”

“Downright fraud”

Ayman Khokher, mitigating, admitted father-of-one Robson had deceived people with “a cavalier approach” and it was “sheer good fortune” none of the drivers were injured or killed.

He added: “It is a sad tale of a young man who hoped to channel a boyhood passion into a business, but the economic climate was against him.

“The odds were always stacked against him and unsurprisingly he struggled to make ends meet.

“Frustrated by his misfortune, the clear line between a legitimate trader and downright fraud unfortunately became blurred.”

Have you or any of your customers had dealings with a dodgy trader? Share your experiences below.

Home Page Forums Car dealer jailed for selling death traps to unsuspecting customers

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Author
  • #165448 Reply
    prof h

    so £ 471000 and he struggled to make ends meet
    where has the money gone

    #165449 Reply
    N Holdsworth

    sharks like him give the industry a bad name

    #165450 Reply
    Steph Savill

    Father of one sells ‘complete deathtrap’ cars to other families making £400k profit and gets 10 months in prison (??) And the law hears a ‘poor me’ plea of hardship as mitigation. Until used car sales are properly licensed he can (and surely will) return to selling cars this way – as he did the last time. Regulation needed in this area to out these rogues; clearly TSI measures are NOT ENOUGH to save innocent lives in future.

    #165451 Reply
    Paul Taylor

    we have been selling cars for a long time now and pride ourselves with our reputation, and quality of our cars also the amount of care we take in ensuring the car is as safe as possiable carring out repairs servicing and MOT’ing before the customer picks it up.
    Unfortunatly this eats into an already tight profit margens and compered with others this makes our cars expensive.
    A price todays public are not prepered to swallow, THINKING WE ARE the sharks!!
    So to save a few hundred quid thinking its a bargain go and buy one from some dodgy back street dealer
    I am sorry I do not have a lot of sympathy for these pepole. But I did not make them buy it, and have seen it so many times over the years, usually in the garage side of my business putting wright what these dodgy dealers won’t. I agree we need some form of regulation and they deserve all they get but it would be impossible to police as they can dissapear overnight
    If you are driven by the depth of your pocket be sure you know what you are buying if its cheap its cheap for a reason.
    Security and safety comes at a cost.
    Basically you don’t go to Tesco and exspect Harrods service and quality

    #165452 Reply
    Peter Miles

    In mitigation it was said that the economic climate was against him? Really?
    What was against him his own total dishonesty. The article also says he sold most of these cars for double what he paid for them so where is the money now? He should be locked up until the people he conned get reimbursed!
    I take Steph Savill’s point but I’m not sure that licensing would have helped in this case. He has been a repeat offender and obviously has no morals or concern for anybody except himself. He should have been shut down earlier!

    #165454 Reply
    Philip Dunmore

    Paul Taylor has it right. Many many people rate a bargain solely on price. This applies to used car purchase and maintenance. Have seen almost as bad from main dealers and car supermarkets. Buyer beware. Get someone to check it before you buy. Insurance based warranties are worthless, don’t even go there!

    #165915 Reply

    The worst offenders by far are private Car and Van sellers selling from home. They can legally sell a vehicle in poor and dangerous condition and not declare the condition of the vehicle and lie !! Then only to state on a piece of scruffy paper ” SOLD AS SEEN ” The customer ends up with a death trap and no come back. There is no legislation.

    #166051 Reply
    tony roe

    I agree with the chap who runs a mot garage and car sales and not just because i also run the same business, customers are driven by cost every time, even though they should realise they are risking their lives and others every single time they drive it, get real and realise you get what you pay 4.
    Buy cheap buy a death trap

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)


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