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Fined for an ‘error’

An administrative error has cost Nissan dealer Howards Garages (Weston) Limited in Weston-super-Mare more than £5,000 in fines and court costs.

The business has been prosecuted by North Somerset Trading Standards after it failed to carry out a major service of a nearly-new Micra in its stock prior to handover to its buyer. The work was a condition of the sale, and the service schedule had been stamped to indicate, incorrectly, that it had been done.

Howards admitted an offence of applying a false description to the goods. Magistrates fined it £2,700 plus £2,613.40 costs.

General manager Chris Johns says it was “an administrative error” and that in 30 years of trading this is the only time the business has fallen foul of trading standards. As soon as the error was reported, the dealership offered the customer a full refund, compensation or alternative vehicle. “The firm did not set out to deceive him,” says Johns.

The case concerned a Micra, bought by driving instructor Peter Hill. He noticed the spark plugs and air filter were dirty. An independent motor engineer told trading standards the items hadn’t been replaced.

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