‘News on the street’ is that service and repair garages are doing ok, all car sales are down and some are so far down that drastic cuts in labour or closure altogether is a serious possibility.
A gloomy picture but the acid test is, are you making more money that you are spending? The important thing is that it is no time form complacency, as far as costs go. The last thing you want is for Trading Standards to be prosecuting you since it will mean a hefty fine and seriously bad publicity and you could potentially lose your Consumer Credit Licence, a lifeline for motor retailers.
We still receive a steady number of complaints concerning misdescription. A classic is the promise of ‘full service history’ by the seller of a car to a dealer leading to the dealer advertising the car with ‘FSH’. For various reasons the service history is not supplied and then there is a potential for an offence of misdescription. Equally a garage may offer and advertise a manufacturers service schedule but then miss some items. All of these situations can be perfectly innocent but they are offences nevertheless. There are many many areas that can lead to a visit to see the magistrates, price errors, credit information, unroadworthy cars. The fines can vary significantly depending often on the way the magistrates view the issue. Interestingly, two recent cases a restaurant owner put inferior gin in a Gordons bottle and was fined £250 plus costs whereas a lady market trader who was selling fruit and vegetables in pounds and ounces instead of the metric qualities of kilograms and grams was fined £5,000. But don’t think £250 is benchmark for offences in the motor trade. Unfortunately the image of motor dealers and garages is still in serious need of being raised. At the other end of the scale Asda were recently fined £36,300 with £5,495 costs for selling out of date food. No one had complained but Trading Standards found it on routine surveys.
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