Car dealer dodges jail despite 'disgraceful behaviour'

A car dealer in Berkshire has avoided jail despite being found guilty of conning and then threatening customers.

David Lilley ran Chelsea Harbour International Cars in Bracknell. The 71-year-old was found guilty of giving false information to his customers about the vehicles they were buying and when they returned to the business looking for a refund he reportedly threatened that he would “call the boys down”.

Trust with a customer base is essential for a car dealership to be successful. Abusing this trust will not only ruin a business' reputation within the local community but, as this case illustrates, it can also prompt legal action, which itself will carry further ramifications. Namely, being found guilty of illegal activity such as fraud will make it very difficult for a car dealer to obtain the road risks insurance or motor trade insurance they require to run their business, with insurers reluctant to offer policies to an individual with a criminal record.

According to Get Reading, a Trading Standards investigation was launched against Mr Lilley by Bracknell Forest Council after complaints from a number of his customers. The investigation uncovered that he had been selling cars which he told customers had MOTs, when they did not. He also lied about repair work that had been carried out on the vehicles.

When confronted, Mr Lilley reportedly shouted, swore and threatened the buyers. He was given a suspended jail term of 42 weeks and a three month curfew between 8pm and 7am. He will also have to wear an electronic tag.