Haulier sues over alleged false mileage on trucks he purchased
A Manchester-based haulier has claimed he was sold seven trucks by related firms some of which allegedly had twice as many miles on the clock as he was told when he bought the vehicles.
Haulier Cathal Dempsey has sued A&M Commercials Ltd, Castleshane, Co Monaghan and related A&M Commercial Ireland Ltd, Keady, Co Armagh over seven trucks he purchased from the firms in 2009 and 2011.
In his High Court action, Mr Dempsey, who is from Co Monaghan, claims it was an express condition of the sale that the units had a mileage record of 500,000km.
He claims that despite being given such assurances the vehicles broke down far more often than they should have. They were off the road frequently resulting in damage to his business.
He claims that after the vehicles were examined the true mileage was much higher than what he claims was agreed.
Some of the units purchased had an estimated mileage of almost 1m km, it is claimed.
As a result, Mr Dempsey seeks damages for breach of contract from the defendants.
The claims are denied, and the defendants say it was not an implied condition of the sale agreement that each of the vehicles had a correct mileage record of approximately 500,000km and had a reasonable expectation of reliability and a reasonable period of trouble-free usage as claimed.
It was also denied that the defendants showed Mr Dempsey that the vehicles had a genuine mileage of approximately 500,000km, or that the vehicle's speedometers were fraudulently altered for the purpose of misleading Mr Dempsey.
It is further denied the vehicles were in poor working order, had serious mechanical defects or were manifestly unfit for purpose.
Opening the case Dominick Hussey SC for Mr Dempsey said his bought three Scania tractor units for Eur116,000 in 2009 and four MAN trucks in exchange for two vehicles he owned valued at Eur97,000 in 2011 from the defendants.
Counsel said that some of the trucks were returned shortly after they were purchased, while others were taken into possession by the company which financed Mr Dempsey's business.
Counsel said that it was their case that an expert who examined the trucks for Mr Dempsey said he had never seen anything as 'spectacular' as the differences between the actual mileage on the trucks and the mileage Mr Dempsey believed was on them when he acquired the trucks.
Counsel said it was their case the three Scanias had mileages of 1m km when Mr Dempsey bought them
The case opened before Mr Justice Donald Binchy on Wednesday.
However, the Judge adjourned the case for two weeks after evidential difficulties arose in the case.
Mr Dempsey's lawyers argued that certain technical evidence concerning the truck's alleged mileage could be given by its expert.
Lawyers for the defendants said that certain technical evidence must be given to the court by the other persons who it is claimed had examined the vehicles, and that hearsay evidence could not be allowed.
Noting the seriousness of the allegations being made the Judge, who said he was not prepared to dismiss the action, put the matter back for two weeks.