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Man sentenced to suspended sentence for selling dangerous car says verdict is ‘nonsense’

Mr Fawad worked at Greenhill Motors, a company based at the Boyne Business Park in Drogheda, which later closed.

Ali Fawad (27) of Pearse Park, Drogheda, Co Louth, who pleaded not guilty, was sentenced to three months in prison, suspended for 12 months, at Drogheda District Court earlier this month.

Mr Fawad worked at Greenhill Motors, a company based at the Boyne Business Park in Drogheda, which later closed.

No representative from Greenhill Motors appeared in court but Judge Eirinn McKiernan fined the company €4,000 and ordered it to pay legal costs of €4,500 plus VAT to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC).

Mr Fawad, who now runs another car business, said his reputation had been damaged by the case and he intended to appeal the verdict.

“I came and did what I wanted,” he said.

“I was just a salesman. How can you piss off a salesman for something like that? I’m so angry. Excuse my language.

Ali Fawad (right) talks to our man Alan Sherry

“Someone who is a sales associate ends up getting suspended with no prior convictions. That’s fucking shit. It’s on appeal. I want to clear my name.

“It wasn’t intentional and everyone got their money back. People come here to see if I’m in jail or not.

The CCPC said it had brought proceedings against Mr Fawad and Greenhill Motors following an investigation which found the company had purchased a 2012 Mazda 6 at auction in July 2021 and then sold it to a customer the following month.

A customer returned the car for a refund after the mechanic determined the car had significant mechanical issues. The mechanic noted that the car was missing a diesel particulate filter (DPF) and that the vehicle was leaking coolant and oil.

This customer was refunded the full amount and in November 2021, Greenhill sold the device to another customer, claiming it was in perfect condition.

Two weeks after purchasing the vehicle, a second customer brought it to a mechanic who told him the vehicle was not roadworthy and would not pass its MOT.

The customer then contacted Fawad and paid an independent engineer to evaluate the car.

Greenhill refunded the customer the full amount based on the independent engineer’s report.

The CCPC got involved and Fawad answered a series of questions and was subsequently interrogated under penalty of perjury. He denied any knowledge of the missing DPF and the vehicle’s deficiencies.

He said Sunday World this week that he was unaware of the problems when he sold the car to a second customer.

“Half the cars on the road have DPF remaps and no one knows. The only way to tell if the DPF has been removed from a car is to connect the manufacturer’s computer and try to do a software update.”

Asked about the coolant and oil leak, he said: “They said any layperson could see an oil or coolant leak under a car sitting in the yard. Sometimes the oil and coolant circulate around the engine only when it’s running, and the leak happens when the car is sitting there.”

He denied knowing about the serious problems with the car when he sold it to the second customer.

“The first customer came back and said it was smokey. They gave him a refund, took the car back and checked it out, it seemed OK, they drove it for a week. The second customer got the car and it ran OK for a week or two.

“They checked and everything was fine. There was no smoke.”

He also said a condition report that came with the car was submitted as evidence, suggesting Greenhill knew about the defects. However, he said the condition report was only produced when Greenhill put the car up for auction after refunding the second customer.

Passing sentence, Judge Eirinn McKiernan highlighted the dangers of selling defective vehicles and found that Mr Fawad and Greenhill Motors had failed to act with the due care and diligence required when selling a vehicle.

The CCPC said it was unlawful for a trader to mislead a consumer about the condition of a car, stating: “Unless otherwise stated, a motor trader should take all reasonable steps to ensure that a car is safe and roadworthy, including carrying out a vehicle history check, before offering the car for sale.”