A Cheshire second-hand car dealer has pleaded guilty in court after misleading five customers into believing that any outstanding finance on their part-exchange would be settled in full. In reality, Matthew Webster, of Templeton Drive, Warrington, did not settle the finance until the part-exchange vehicle had been sold, and customers were forced to continue paying off their old car until then.
The 36-year-old was the owner of FC Car Sales Ltd in Warrington, which was previously called Faster Car Finance Ltd when it was incorporated in February 2020. Webster later changed the name again in July 2020 to Faster Car Sales Ltd, before settling on FC Car Sales Ltd.
Webster entered a guilty plea to five offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 at the Warrington Magistrates Court on Wednesday, April 13. He has been ordered to pay a total of £26,565.08.
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An investigation by Warrington Trading Standards found that some customers, who had bought second hand cars between October 2020 and September 2021, were misled to believe that Webster would pay off any outstanding finance on part-exchanges when they bought a new vehicle from the dealership. Trading Standards found this was not true, and that the outstanding finance was not settled until Webster sold their old car.
This meant that customers ended up paying monthly finance payments on both their old car and their new car, affecting their credit rating and causing financial losses. All affected customers approached Webster to solve the problem but were unsuccessful.
At the hearing, defence solicitor for Webster, Mr Wilbraham, offered apologies and remorse from his client. They accepted that the dealership was at fault, and said that Webster was intending to close the company down and was hoping to set up a similar business.
Due to this, he said he did have available funds to settle the compensation orders issued by the court, which totalled £16,735. He was also fined £1,000 for the five separate offences, ordered to pay £4,640 in prosecution costs and a victim surcharge of £190.
The Magistrates said they took a “very dim view” of his behaviour, which had caused worry and stress to his customers, affecting their credit score and causing a loss in finances.
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