A ROGUE trader has been told to cough up thousands of pounds in compensation to a Portland man who he duped into buying a van described as one of the ‘worst vehicles’ seen by Trading Standards officials.
Andrew James Ostolski, aged 41, used fake details to sell a Ford Transit Tipper van that was not roadworthy to Portland resident Neil Charlton, Poole Magistrates Court heard.
Ostolski was a manager of a branch at car dealership QMC Limited when he sold the van which had numerous issues.
Ostolski, of Station Road, Sutton-in-Ashfield, pleaded guilty to supplying the unroadworthy motor vehicle and engaging in advertising which is misleading between September 18, 2019 and September 29, 2019.
The court heard how the rogue trader gave a false name and implied the van was being sold through BTS Car Sales, which it was not.
Prosecuting Richard Herringshaw said: “The defendant used the BTS Car Sales eBay account to advertise the vehicle, he provided an invoice, in the glove compartment, for a business called Tradepoint Van Sales, but the money went into an account for a company called QMC Ltd, which Ostolski was the signatory for.
“Ostolski claimed this business, BTS Car Sales, was a 28-year family-run business, which was not true.
“He also said his name was Andrew James, which was false too.
“On September 20, the van was dropped off outside the victim’s home at 6am when Ostolski said he would drop it off around 9am.
“The van’s lights were not working, the tyres worn, the exhaust silencer was split, and the rear tipper had corrosion. It was in an unroadworthy condition and no mechanic would have left a vehicle in that state.
“A mechanic inspected the van and said it should not have been on the road.
“The victim contacted the defendant, who sent back aggressive texts.”
Ostolski told the court he was sorry for his actions and that he wanted to put it behind him.
He said: “I want this resolved and to put it all behind me.
“The buck stops with me because I was the manager at that time. I hold my hands up and apologise.
“I was told by the company a refund would not be issued until my case was dealt with in court.”
Mr Herringshaw, who also serves as Dorset Council’s principal Trading Standards officer, said: “This was one of the worst vehicles that we have seen.
“Businesses and consumers have a right to expect vehicles they buy to be safe and to know who they are buying from. Mr Ostolski failed in both these respects.”
Councillor Jill Haynes, Portfolio Holder for Customer, Community and Regulatory Services at Dorset Council, said: “Our Trading Standards team will continue to take appropriate action where unsafe vehicles are sold for use on our roads.”
Ostolski must pay a £240 fine, compensation to the victim totalling £2,576.71, court costs of £1,000, and a victim surcharge of £34 – totalling £3,850.71.
Mr Herringshaw said consumers or businesses wanting advice about goods and services they have bought or wish to report unfair or unsafe trading to Trading Standards should call the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133.
Alternatively, visit: www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer