United Kingdom

Downfall of car dealer who sold death traps: Chancer forged court papers and refused to pay refunds

A car dealer who sold death-trap second-hand vehicles tried to stop customers getting justice after he was sued, a Daily Mail investigation can reveal.

Ahmed Alwaheeb's firms sold cars riddled with faults – and which sometimes had government recall notices that required manufacturers to fix safety issues – but refused to refund customers.

However, when they took legal action, his Surrey firm tried to stop cases going to court by submitting fake documents, a judge was told. 

Ahmed Alwaheeb's (pictured) firms sold cars riddled with faults – and which sometimes had government recall notices that required manufacturers to fix safety issues – but refused to refund customers

Representatives for Alwaheeb's company sent courts bogus papers supposedly signed by the buyer saying they had accepted a payout and would drop legal action.

But victims knew nothing about the documents and had not received a penny, despite being thousands of pounds out of pocket after being refused refunds.

A Mail investigation found that:

Customer Iain Ross, 39, said just a couple of hours after buying a Volvo XC70 from Alwaheeb's parent company, Crown Motor Direct, which trades as EMC Car Sales and Chobham Central Garage, the dashboard 'lit up like a Christmas tree' to show an array of faults.

When the furniture installer took it to a garage after returning to his home in Aberdeen, mechanics found it had serious defects, including a dangerous problem with the brakes. 

Customer Iain Ross, 39, (pictured) said just a couple of hours after buying a Volvo XC70 from Alwaheeb's parent company, Crown Motor Direct, the dashboard 'lit up like a Christmas tree' to show an array of faults

After Crown Motor Direct refused compensation, Mr Ross began a civil claim at North Shields County Court against the firm and Alwaheeb.

But after becoming concerned about the lack of progress, he contacted the court and discovered a document had been submitted claiming the case had been settled to his satisfaction.

The 'notice of discontinuance' included an 'electronic signature' said to be Mr Ross's. 

He told the court: 'The application to set aside the judgment is based on a fabricated email agreement that says I digitally signed an agreement to a £1,000 settlement when I paid £3,900 for the vehicle.

'It does not bear my signature and I have never seen this form before in my life.' It was 'declared a nullity' by a judge and Alwaheeb's firm was told to pay Mr Ross £7,524 plus interest, including £1,000 for emotional distress.

He said: 'These guys are just laughing at us.'

Another court hearing involving fraudulent documents between customer George Campbell Nicol, of Thurso, on Scotland's north coast, and Alwaheeb's company was held in November 2019 at Carlisle County Court. 

After a notice of discontinuance was submitted with a hand-written signature, the judge ruled it had no resemblance to Mr Nicol's and had been forged.

Robyn Thompson, from Woking, Surrey, said she left her 'unusable' £3,300 VW Golf on her drive for three years as she sought a refund.

It had several faults, including with the brakes, and she was told by an independent garage it was unsafe to drive even after Alwaheeb's firm had 'fixed' it.

After appealing to the Motoring Ombudsman, the firm was ordered to pay a full refund, plus other costs, but it refused. 

It only paid after being challenged by the Mail. 

Robyn Thompson, (pictured) from Woking, Surrey, said she left her 'unusable' £3,300 VW Golf on her drive for three years as she sought a refund

One woman told how EMC Car Sales sold her a Jeep that, unknown to her, was subject to a government safety recall over a fault that could cause drivers to lose control and crash. 

The customer, who was refused compensation by the firm, said it 'sold me a dangerous car'.

Alwaheeb accepted something 'dishonest' had happened in relation to 'fraudulent' court papers, but said they were submitted without his knowledge by a 'freelance legal professional' he claims to have hired – and plans to sue.

He added: 'I am shocked. He is a litigation expert, according to what he told me. We don't want any case to go to court. 

'As long as you bring the car back within 30 days you can get a full refund.'

He said his firms were dismissed unfairly by the ombudsman, which he accused of delaying its rulings.

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