CAR OWNERS across Britain have fallen victim of a Merseyside firm which botched orders then kept the money.
National Car Spares, previously based at Stopgate Lane, Kirkby, stand accused of sending its customers broken or incorrect parts then stalled on repaying money, in some cases more than £3,500.
The company is not registered as a limited company but works alongside Engines UK Ltd – registered to the unit next door.
The customers – dispersed as far as Essex, Dorset, Sussex and Swansea – paid hundreds of pounds for parts that were incorrect, failed to work or never arrived.
Some are still waiting for their money but others fought through the courts or demanded their banks’ involvement.
In three cases, customers were delighted to receive their money back – only for the cash to be instantly recalled from their accounts.
The company denied taking the money – saying it had returned its card processing facilities – and advised customers to contact their banks.
But when Richard Harmer, 52, did just that – for £675 – his bank told him the opposite and said the company must have his funds.
Mr Harmer, from Ticehurst, East Sussex, ordered a Renault Megane engine from Engines UK Ltd.
National Car Spares took his cash but the wrong engine arrived.
The company eventually collected the engine but Mr Harmer waited two months for a refund – which was recalled within days. He is still waiting for his money.
He said: "It’s unbelievable to think a company can act like this. You wouldn’t believe a company could take your money, refuse to give it back and no-one can do a thing about it. I think they’re a disgrace. They’re just a bunch of sharks and they should be stopped."
Simon Moody, 33, used the courts to end his eight-month battle for £969.
He ordered an Audi A4 engine from National Car Spares in May last year but it never arrived.
He gained a court order in January and the company repaid the money within weeks – before it was recalled.
National Car Spares then sent Mr Moody, of Poole, Dorset, a letter identical to one it sent Mr Harmer. It denied recalling the cash and told Mr Moody to contact his card issuer.
Two weeks later a cheque was mysteriously paid into his bank account.
Mr Moody said: "The promise of customer service on their website is a mockery. None of the employees we dealt with cared about the situation or tried to resolve it.
"It just felt like a conspiracy. It was a lot of money for a family to be without."
"It was stress we didn’t need or deserve. They shouldn’t be allowed to trade."
Jennifer Morgan paid £381 for a BMW gearbox she ordered from National Car Spares in November last year.
The 47-year-old waited two weeks for a gearbox that never arrived before cancelling her order.
She waited until the end of January for her refund but it was promptly recalled on February 2.
Mrs Morgan, of Swansea, South Wales, contacted her debit card company who refunded the money.
She said: "I just couldn’t believe it. I was fobbed off constantly and then when I managed to get my money – it was taken straight back out of my account."
"It just got to the point when there was no point calling them anymore."
Mrs Morgan and several other customers used the consumer complaints’ website www.ixat.net
to complain about the companies.
When Kevin Ward saw their postings – three days after buying a £470 Vauxhall Corsa engine in March – he promptly cancelled his order.
He never received the engine and struggled to get his money back from Engines UK. He was eventually refunded by his credit card company
The 47-year-old, from Epping in Essex, said: "I would never use this company again and would advise others to avoid them. It gives a poor impression of Merseyside. There must be decent firms up there but this lot make you think otherwise."
Engines UK Ltd has altered its registered address four times in two years.
Engines UK Ltd’s address changed to Simonswood Industrial Estate, Kirkby – from one in Pendlebury, Manchester – in October 2006.
It changed again to Stopgate Lane, Kirkby on January 18 last year and then returned to the previous Pendlebury address on January 24 this year.
The ECHO repeatedly contacted both National Car Spares and Engines UK Ltd for an explanation but one was not forthcoming.
Lancashire trading standards is aware of National Car Spares and Engines UK Ltd and anyone with a complaint should contact 08454040506 or visit www.consumerdirect.gov.uk.
ENGINES UK Ltd has shared two addresses with a firm ordered to stop supplying dodgy goods.
Northern Cars Ltd’s director was threatened with prison if the company continued to supply faulty goods and refused to give customers their refunds.
So many people complained about the firm – trading as Universal Spares – it received a court order from the high court in Manchester.
The court issued a Enterprise Act interim enforcement order to stop the company supplying "misdescribed or faulty" goods – threatening prison if it was breached.
A month after the order was issued in March 2007, the company went into liquidation.
On October 11 2006, Northern Cars Ltd switched its registered address from Unit 3, Simonswood Industrial Park, Stopgate Lane, Kirkby to Clifton House in Union Street, Pendlebury, Manchester.
Six days later, Engines UK Ltd switched its registered address from Clifton House, Union Street, Pendlebury, Manchester to 3 Simonswood Industrial Estate, Kirkby.
takes the pis