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No jail for Black Country car dealer who 'preyed on the innocent'

By Annabal Bagdi | Walsall | Crime | Published:

Arslaan Asif cheated customers and told one victim 'trading standards can't touch us'.

A broken exhaust shield was among many problems with one car sold by Arslaan Asif. Stock photo: Wikimedia Commons

A second-hand car dealer who preyed on innocent victims before selling a ‘death trap’ to an unsuspecting customer has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Arslaan Asif cheated customers into believing his ‘unroadworthy’ cars were in perfect condition, laughing at dissatisfied buyers who threatened to report him to trading standards.

The 28-year-old, who ran Wednesbury Car Sales, was warned a dangerous Volkswagen Polo he sold could have killed its driver and passengers, as well as others nearby.

Sentencing him to eight weeks prison suspended for 18 months, District Judge Graham Wilkinson said: “You were prepared to sell [this] death trap to members of the public to make £1,200.

"That’s how much you valued the life of people travelling in that car or anybody unfortunate enough to be around that car.

“People like you prey on the naive, on the innocent, who don’t know their consumer rights. This was all about you making the most money from selling worthless items to poor unsuspecting people.”

One victim was Mr Choudary who agreed to buy a VW Polo he was told was ‘perfect’ for £1,200 last October.

He was refused the chance to test drive the car after being told the firm did not offer them, but went on to pay a £100 deposit, prosecutor Mr David Elliott said at Wolverhampton Magistrates’ Court.

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His son spotted the broken exhaust shield when they returned to pay in full, but was refused a refund and agreed to take the car - later deemed unsafe by mechanics.

A trading standards inspection revealed it had broken suspension springs, faulty brakes, no bonnet safety catch, was leaking hydraulic fluid and had severed indicator wires.

Faye Chubbs, who also fell victim to the scam, left a £200 deposit for a Vauxhall Corsa in 'excellent condition', advertised in Auto Trader for £489.

She later discovered the price had risen by £100 but was told the lower price would be honoured if she had proof of the original advert.

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The victim, who printed the advert before the price was increased online, went to collect the car but discovered the sale would be on a ‘spares and repairs’ basis as she had declined to buy a three-month warranty.

The first-time buyer, who felt she had no control of the Corsa when she drove home, threatened to report the matter but was told 'trading standards can’t touch us’.

Mr Elliot revealed there was an issue with the Corsa’s braking system, the steering rack was leaking, the exhaust was badly corroded and it had a badly-worn tyre.

The court was told Asif, who has paid back cash handed over by his victims, felt 'out of his depth' after taking over the management of the business from his ill step-father.

The unemployed marketing graduate, who had no previous convictions, was remorseful and is now financially reliant upon his wife, the court heard.

Asif, of Tantarra Street, Walsall, admitted two counts of selling an unworthy motor vehicle, and being a distributor who exposed or possessed for offer or agreed to supply or supplied a dangerous product.

He also pleaded guilty to six other associated counts. He was also fined £2,650.

Annabal Bagdi

By Annabal Bagdi
@AnnabalB_Star

Senior reporter based at Wolverhampton

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