Trading standards officers in Bristol are working with the police in an effort to target the areas where vehicles are regularly being advertised for sale on the side of the road. The crackdown comes after a large number of complaints from residents who are fed-up with the cars being sold illegally from the roadside.
The team have been quick to get into action and have already traced car owners selling this way and asked them to cease their actions. In cases where the owners could not be contacted the cars have had a notice stuck on them warning the seller they were breaking the law. Both the police and trading standards are also warning buyers of possible problems they will face if anything goes wrong with the car. Buyers are advised to only buy from reputable car dealers after receiving many complaints that cars bought from the roadside have been found to have a number of faults, often serious ones.
Lib Dem Cabinet Councillor Guy Poultney is familiar with the problem and said: “Some of the vendors are actually car dealers illegally masquerading as private individuals to escape their legal obligations. These companies are abusing free on-street parking to lower their costs, and undercut legitimate traders. Some cars sold on the road side have previously been written off by motor insurance companies and since repaired, but the customer doesn’t know this and by the time you find out, there’s no comeback.”
Previously sellers were prosecuted if they were found to be selling two or more vehicles on a public highway within 500 metres of each other, but the sellers got round this by spreading them further apart. The issue is a common problem throughout the United Kingdom and some local councils have responded by authorising officers to issue £1,000 fines to those who leave any vehicle for sale on grass verges or main roads.