UK Car Dealer Breaks Bad

Estimated read time 3 min read

He sold “deathtrap” cars to unwitting buyers online.

Car dealers don’t, in general, have a great public image. While some play dumb or even openly wonder why, pretty much anyone who has experience buying cars can rattle off at least a few big reasons. Most of them come down to one thing: too many dealers are deceptive or dishonest in their practices. While we can debate whether dealers have tried deceiving people or that shoppers don’t understand used cars can break after they’re sold, one dealer in the UK seems to have taken some lessons from Breaking Bad to get the cash flowing.

Protect yourself against online car sales fraud.

Just like Water White, this guy seemed to have everything flowing smoothly, even hiding his identity as he sold all the vehicles online. According to a report from Manchester Evening News, Mohammed Sajad was arrested and charged for defrauding 11 people he sold cars to. When his case went to court, the judge said there were likely many more victims.

To shroud his identity from victims and subsequently the authorities, Sajad used fake business names on eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and other websites. He also forged fake documents for the cars and wouldn’t meet up with his customers, conducting all business online or over the phone.

And similar to Walter White, Sajad is accused to engaging in a money laundering scheme to throw authorities off his trail. We don’t know if he bought a laser tag facility or a car wash to make his financial gains look legitimate, but we do know this guy sold at least 360 cars over a two-year period while running this scheme.

While some term the cars sold to individuals as “deathtraps” we find some of the examples cited to be anything but. For example, a Mercedes sold to one shopper for £11,000 was “filthy” with used tissues and water bottles littering the interior. The luxury vehicle also had damaged wheels and tires which were beyond the legal depth. While selling a car with unsafe tires by a dealer which registers it for road use is illegal here in the US, private parties do sell dirty cars all the time. Cleaning it up might be a pain, but that certainly doesn’t seem like fraud to us. Then again, we’re not getting every gritty detail of this case.

However, some of the vehicles sold did have serious problems. For example, a Toyota had unrepaired structural damage from a previous crash. Something like that could prove fatal if the vehicle were in another collision. Another vehicle was sold with a hole in the gas tank.

With the judge characterizing Sajad’s business as hinging on “deceit” as “a core part for this business” the man wasn’t going to walk out of court a free man. Instead, he was slapped with a jail sentence of two years and 11 months, even though Sajad’s attorney argued his client got married and is expecting a child after trying to mend his ways.

This case perfectly highlights why as a car shopper you need to be on the lookout for schemes, especially when it comes to online transactions. Never meeting the seller in person is a huge warning sign. If a vehicle is being sold at well below market value, proceed with extreme caution. And when you do see documentation, pour over the details to check for spelling or grammar errors. It’s a good idea to run the VIN through a history check service, too.

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