Exeter car dealer denies selling unroadworthy vehicle

A car salesman in Exeter has denied accusations that he sold an unroadworthy car to a customer.

Andrew Leach, a 50-year-old with 32 years' experience in the motor trade industry says he has never lied to a customer. However, jewellery shop owners Nigel and Philippa Rutherford have said that they were unaware that a second hand Volkswagen Touran they bought from Mr Leach in January 2012 had been involved in an accident previously, which the car dealer says he told them at the time of purchase.

With so much of a car dealer's reputation dependent on positive online reviews and word of mouth, selling dodgy vehicles to customers will only end up harming their business. A road risks insurance policy will allow a trader to drive the cars they are selling for testing purposes, thereby allowing them to check that the vehicle is roadworthy before selling it on.

The Exeter Express and Echo reported that the prosecution revealed that Mr Leach, who runs St Leonards Cars in Magdalen Road, was definitely aware of the faults with the Touran because he had sold it in the past only for the buyer to later return it for a refund. Having then sold it to Mr and Mrs Rutherford, the customers again returned it - this time 17 months after purchase - complaining of the problems with the car's accident history, at which point they received a full refund.

The defence stated that the car was roadworthy as extensive repair work had been carried out on it.

Mr Leach said to the jury at Exeter Crown Court: "I was not concerned at all that the car was unsafe. If I had any doubts I would not have put it on the road because that would reflect on the integrity of our business.

"I would not dream of selling anything that was unsafe and would never sell a car in an unroadworthy condition. I have never lied to a customer and I did tell Mrs Rutherford the car had been in an accident."

The case is ongoing.