Stevenage tyre dealer fined after supplying ‘dangerous’ and ‘unsafe’ tyre
- Credit: Archant
A Stevenage tyre dealer has been fined after pleading guilty to misleading a customer and supplying equipment that failed to meet safety requirements.
Akbary Tyres Ltd, of Orchard Road in Stevenage, was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £1,811 in costs after pleading guilty to supplying a part-worn tyre which failed to meet standards set by Motor Vehicle Tyres Regulations 1994.
St Albans Magistrates' Court also heard how the company failed to inform the buyer that the tyre was 14 years old - a misleading omission under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
Upon sentencing, the court said that selling tyres in this condition was not only dangerous but a serious offence.
Councillor Terry Hone, Herts County Council's executive member for community safety, said: "We hope that this sends a message to the part-worn tyre market in Hertfordshire that we take these matters very seriously. Our consumers should be able to expect that any tyre they buy complies with safety standards."
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The case was kickstarted after an undercover investigative officer, from Hertfordshire Trading Standards, visited Akbary Tyres on July 4, 2019, posing as a consumer.
The officer asked the company to supply and fit a part-worn tyre to a wheel rim he had brought with him, paying £35 for the work. It was noted that the tyre was a Pirelli winter tyre from 2005, which had partially legible words "part worn" stamped in the wrong place.
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This tyre was examined by an independent consultant, who noted damage that was likely to lead to rapid deflation - therefore making the tyre unsafe.
The expert added that the tyre should not have been sold due to its age-related deterioration and cracking in the tread grooves. There were also stones embedded in the tread which could penetrate the tyre, causing serious damage.
Akbary Tyres admitted it should not have sold the damaged tyre but said the damaged area had been so small it had been missed, and the director had been out of the country at the time.
The company said it routinely examines tyres and checks them to ensure there is no damage, cuts, holes, or irregular shapes, although no evidence had been provided of these checks. The firm also said that since this incident, it had strengthened its tyre-checking procedures.
Simon Brown, chair of the Hertfordshire Road Safety Partnership, said: "Tyres are a safety critical component on every vehicle. They are the only part of a vehicle in contact with the road surface and play a vital role when braking, steering, cornering and accelerating.
"Poor tyre safety is one of the most common vehicle contributory factors in collisions where people are killed or seriously injured.
"Hertfordshire Trading Standards is a key member of our Road Safety Partnership. Test purchasing operations such as this are crucial in preventing needless road death and injury."