Stevenage tyre dealer fined for selling unsafe tyre

Published: 16 Jan 2020

An undercover investigation by Hertfordshire Trading Standards has resulted in a Stevenage tyre dealer being fined for supplying a 14-year-old, unsafe, part-worn tyre.

Akbary Tyres Limited, Orchard Road, Stevenage, were fined £1000 and ordered to pay £1811 in costs after pleading guilty at St Albans Magistrates Court to supplying a part-worn tyre which failed to meet the safety requirements of the Motor Vehicle Tyres (Safety) Regulations 1994.

The company also failed to inform the buyer that the tyre was 14 years old, a misleading omission under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. 

On sentencing, the court said that selling tyres in this condition was not only dangerous but a serious offence.

Cllr Terry Hone, 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 for road use complies with safety standards.

“We will continue to support businesses with advice and conduct covert test-purchasing when necessary to help protect consumers and keep them safe on the road and improve standards."

At the hearing on Wednesday (15 January), the court heard that an officer from Hertfordshire Trading Standards, visited Akbary Tyres on 4th July 2019 to make a test purchase acting 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 and paid £35. It was later noted that the tyre supplied was a Pirelli winter tyre which had been manufactured in 2005 and had the partially legible words “part worn” stamped in the wrong place.

The tyre was then examined by an independent tyre consultant who noted tyre damage likely to compromise the tyre’s integral strength and could lead to rapid deflation whilst in use. The tyre was therefore deemed unsafe.

The expert also concluded that the 14-year-old tyre should not have been sold due to its age-related deterioration, including rubber cracking in the tread grooves. There were also many stones embedded in the tread which could penetrate the tyre and cause serious damage.

Hertfordshire Trading Standards had previously provided Akbary Tyres Ltd with advice and guidance on the legislation surrounding the storage, marking and selling of part-worn tyres. This guidance specifically mentioned that the tyres must not have any ply or cord exposed internally or externally, and that the “part worn” marking must be adjacent to every approval mark.

The company admitted they 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.

They said they routinely examine tyres and check them to ensure there is no damage, cuts, holes, or irregular shapes, although no evidence had been provided of these checks. The company also said that since this incident, they had strengthened their tyre-checking procedures.

Simon Brown, Chair of 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 are key members of our Road Safety Partnership. Test purchasing operations such as this are crucial in preventing needless road death and injury.”