Public Warning - Imported used cars
NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe is issuing a warning to consumers who purchase used motor vehicles. Mr Stowe said he was issuing the warning in the public interest under section 86A of the Fair Trading Act 1987.
After a lengthy, joint investigation by NSW Fair Trading involving NSW Police and a number of other agencies, four motor vehicle dealerships have been identified as allegedly importing vehicles from Japan and tampering with the vehicle odometers by reducing the readings of the kilometres travelled.
Vehicles may have been on-sold to unsuspecting consumers who were misled about the actual readings. Odometer tampering is an offence against Section 52(1)(a) of the Motor Dealers and Repairers Act 2013.
Mr Stowe said concerns about odometer tampering were amplified when cars were imported because there was no paperwork in Australia.
“This makes it easy for people and businesses to wind back odometers on these ‘grey imports’ and supply false documentation to consumers in fraudulent sales transactions in violation of the Motor Dealers and Repairers Act, the Crimes Act and Australian Consumer Law,” he said.
On 16 February 2016, Fair Trading investigators and consumer protection officers along with NSW Police officers, Roads and Maritime Services examiners and Australian Tax Office computer forensics and Safe Work inspectors executed search warrants simultaneously at four business premises, one in Blacktown, one in Concord and two in Haberfield.
The four businesses were served with Notices to Show Cause and one was also served with an immediate suspension notice.
The four businesses subject of the warrants were:
- Impex 500 Pty Ltd t/a Master Car
- Edward Lee’s Imports Pty Ltd t/a Edward Lee’s Imports
- Prestige Auto Centre Pty Ltd t/a Prestige Auto Centre
- Dreamcarcity Pty Ltd t/a Dream Car City (which also received an immediate suspension)
Mr Stowe said the conduct alleged could result in actual detriment to consumers who had purchased affected vehicles and possible future detriment to consumers purchasing these vehicles down the track.
Consumers who have concerns regarding purchases from these companies should contact NSW Fair Trading on 13 32 20.