A Pendragon dealership has been found guilty of misleading customers with its finance offers.
The Vauxhall outlet, at St James Square, Gateshead, was convicted of two offences under the Consumer Credit Act 1974.
Gateshead Magistrates Court fined it £2,000 for each offence, plus £8,000 costs and £500 compensation for the misled customer.
The prosecution arose after a consumer contacted Trading Standards having bought a car last year on the basis of adverts for a five year 0% finance scheme on an “outstanding range of used cars”.
But after choosing a car, which bore a roof-mounted display showing repeating the 0% offer, he ended up paying 4.2% interest.
Trading Standards investigators found the adverts were generally misleading, as the offer applied to just six cars, representing 11% of the stock.
The process for picking which used cars qualified for the 0% interest offer was unclear to staff, and often applied only to over-ageing stock.
A spokesman said: “We were shocked to learn that not only was the 0% finance deal not available on many of the advertised cars, but that ‘outstanding’ could sometimes just mean difficult to sell.”