Company receives hefty fine over inadequate car servicing
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Halfords Auto Centre failed to carry out a satisfactory full car service which has resulted in the company being fined £32,000. They were also ordered to pay more than £14,862 in costs and a £120 victim surcharge.
The prosecution was brought by South Gloucestershire Council Trading Standards as part of a crackdown on garages charging for work that had not been carried out and failing to adequately service customer cars.
Halfords Auto Centre in Filton, South Gloucestershire was subject to a test purchase check where a vehicle was put in for a premium service which officers later discovered had not been fully completed.
Prior to the check, an industry expert introduced 20 faults to the car, a Vauxhall Astra. The faults were all standard issues that should be checked during a routine service. For example, the levels of brake fluid and power steering fluid were reduced below the minimum level. Bulbs were also removed as part of the operation.
In all, 11 of the 20 faults were missed which should have been picked up in the full service which cost £235 to carry out.
Cllr Heather Goddard, Chair of the Communities Committee, said: “Residents need to be able to put their trust in the garage they take their car to for a service so it is unacceptable that this particular branch of a well-known chain has not met the required standard.”
Mark Pullin, Strong, Safer Communities Manager, added: “The results of this operation were disappointing because had this been a real customer they would not have received the service they were paying for. Our Trading Standards officers will continue to carry out these test operations to ensure South Gloucestershire residents get a fair deal. This prosecution demonstrates our commitment to taking enforcement action against those companies which do not take their responsibilities to their customers seriously.”
The case was heard at North Avon Magistrates Court on Friday 5 June, Halfords Auto Centre pleaded guilty to eight offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations for giving misleading information in relation to a service offered by them.
The car servicing test was carried out on March 6 2014.
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