A screenshot of the fraudulent eBay page-2

Counterfeiter jailed after selling thousands of false vehicle service booklets

A counterfeiter has been jailed for 31 months after selling thousands of potentially dangerous false vehicle service booklets.

Gulab Mustofa, from Burnley, was sentenced at Burnley Crown Court on Thursday 11 April after an investigation by Lancashire County Council's Trading Standards team.

On 26 July 2022, a representative of the Ford Motor Company bought a service booklet from the eBay seller SimpliLiving, which contained 11 service stamps alleging to be from the main Ford dealers in Exeter, Crewe and Sandbach. Neither the booklet nor the stamps it contained were genuine.

This sparked the investigation by the Trading Standards team.

The following month, in August 2022, a test purchase was made by the team of a forged pre-stamped Vauxhall servicing booklet for £34.95. The same month, Jaguar Land Rover made a test purchase of a Range Rover service history booklet, costing £36.95. This contained bogus stamps purporting to be from the Stratstone group of main dealers.

In September 2022, a warrant was executed at Briercliffe Road in Burnley where officers found a VW service booklet and a stock of the same rigid envelopes that the test purchases had been supplied in.

Between 10 March 2021 and 2 August 2017, eBay records show that Gulab Mostofa made £33,778 from sales of 2,206 service booklets, trading as SimpliLiving, with a net income of £27,638.29 up to the date of the warrant on 5 September 2022.

Gulab Mostofa told officers that he had sold out of booklets and that he didn't have his dealer stamps. Further questions were answered with 'no-comment' replies.    

Responding to written interview questions, Gulab Mostofa said that he hadn't believed there was a problem selling blank books as other sellers were doing it too. 

Nick McNamara, Trading Standards officer at Lancashire County Council said:

"Selling fake goods is illegal and in this case, potentially dangerous.

"Honest buyers could end up purchasing a car which appears to have an excellent service history and has been well cared for, when this is false.

"Protecting consumers by removing illegal operators from the marketplace is vital to ensure that goods and services are real, will last or most importantly, that they will be safe to use.

"If you suspect fake goods are being sold, please report them to our trading standards service via our Citizen's Advice Consumer Helpline."

Anyone wanting to contact Lancashire Trading Standards for advice, or to report an illegal sale, should call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133.

Notes to editors

Confiscation proceedings under PoCA have been timetabled.