TWO car traders have each been fined £480 at Elgin Sheriff Court for misleading consumers and for dealing in second hand cars without a licence.
According to Moray Council, customers thought they were buying privately, with the dealers evading their consumer protection responsibilities.
The prosecutions followed a crackdown by trading standards officers on unlicensed selling, which they said undermines the licensing system that protects consumers and is unfair to legitimate traders who comply with licence conditions.
Both individuals had been warned previously by trading standards and one had a previous conviction for a similar offence in 2015.
Despite the warnings, according to Moray Council trading standards manager Peter Adamson, they continued to trade and left trading standards with no option but to report them to the procurator fiscal.
Mr Adamson said: "Individuals who regularly sell second hand vehicles are in trade and are required to be licensed by the council. This is to protect consumers and legitimate licensed traders who carry out background checks and ensure that their vehicles are safe.
"There is also an obligation for traders to make clear to consumers that they are in trade and to provide consumers with statutory consumer rights."
Traders can apply for a car dealer’s licence to Moray Council on 0300 123 4561. Members of the public who suspect illegal car dealing can phone the consumer helpline on 03454 040506.