A rogue trader who sold cars unfit for the roads to unsuspecting customers was told he had caused an “immense amount of damage and upset”, as he was jailed for a year.
Geoff Badlan claimed the cars were in good condition as he tried to flog them on internet trading websites from his two garages.
But the full extent of his fraudulent sales practices were laid bare at Wolverhampton Crown Court yesterday.
The 38-year-old ran used car dealerships at West Lake Motors, in High Street, Pensnett, and Himley Value Centre, in Himley Road, near the Texaco garage on the border of Dudley and South Staffordshire. One car he sold, a Volkswagen Golf GTi, had an insecure passenger seat that slipped forward five minutes after a customer drove away from the forecourt.
Badlan claimed it had two previous owners and drove “superbly”. In fact it had 14 former owners and its MOT expired seven months earlier than the Auto Trader advert claimed. The vehicle had a catalogue of problems including low tread on the tyres and a broken exhaust.
On seeing the passenger seat fly forward into the dashboard, the victim returned to the dealership straight away and asked for a refund. He was told: “A deal is a deal.” Inspectors later said the Golf was not roadworthy when it was sold.
Mr Mark Jackson, prosecuting, said a few days later the same victim received a phone call from someone telling him it was “his fault” he had bought the car and it was “tough”. Mr Jackson told the court that repeated attempts by Dudley Council’s Trading Standards department to invite the defendant to be interviewed under caution after complaints were unsuccessful.
Those delays prompted Trading Standards, Vosa and police to visit his businesses on June 25, where they found several unroadworthy cars. Prohibition notices were slapped on nine cars including Vauxhall Astras and Ford Mondeos.
Badlan, representing himself, said he had sold around 300 cars in a year and that he had received “around five or six complaints”. He said at the time of his frauds, his marriage was breaking down. Jailing him and giving him an anti-social behaviour order banning him from selling cars for 10 years, Judge Michael Challinor said: “You have caused an immense amount of damage and upset to a lot of people. This sentence is to punish you and deter other unscrupulous motor traders who try to deceive the public.”
Badlan, who recently moved from Stourbridge Road, Brierley Hill, to Hall Road, Norwich, had admitted six offences under the Road Traffic Act, 16 charges under Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations and two further counts offences under the Companies Act.