$33,000 in fines for Wangara car dealer (Linear Concept Car Company & Dalbir Kandola)
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A Wangara car dealer who made false representations to customers about the true history of three hail-damaged cars he was selling has been fined a total of $33,000 by the Perth Magistrates Court.
Dalbir Singh Kandola, a Director of Deepam Investments Pty Ltd trading as Linear Concept Car Company, pleaded guilty on 26 September 2012 to five charges of making false and misleading representations to consumers. The company pleaded guilty to the same offences. The company was fined a total of $26,025 and Mr Kandola was fined a total of $6,975. The company must also pay Court costs of $2,250 and Mr Kandola must pay Court costs of $250.
The Court also made a compensation order for the dealership to refund $900 to a customer.
Consumer Protection told the Court that, between July and October 2010, Linear Concept Car Company, through Mr Dalbir Kandola or his son Mr Deepal Kandola, made false statements to three customers on three separate occasions that a Honda Civic sedan had been repossessed. They failed to reveal that the vehicle had been declared a repairable write-off due to hail damage. The vehicle had been sold to the three separate customers, who later returned it after discovering that the vehicle was a write-off. They were offered refunds.
In September 2010, Mr Deepal Kandola, who was an employee of the dealership, denied that a Mitsubishi Lancer sedan had suffered hail damage when asked by a consumer, a statement that was false. In October 2010, the same employee told another customer that a Hyundai Santa Fe vehicle had two years of its new car warranty remaining, when in fact the warranty had been cancelled by the manufacturer due to the vehicle being declared a repairable write-off because of hail damage.
In handing down the sentence, Magistrate Young said consumers are entitled to expect to be dealt with fairly, and rely on the truthfulness of statements made by traders.
“These consumers were deprived of the choice to accept or decline the vehicle knowing its previous history. The repeated on-selling of the Honda Civic after it had been returned is an aggravating factor. The purpose of the consumer legislation is to balance the uneven bargaining power between consumers and traders and penalties must promote that purpose.” the Magistrate said.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll said the case highlights the need for both the owners and employees of motor vehicle dealerships to be open and honest with consumers at all times.
“Car dealers face hefty fines and jeopardise losing their licence if they attempt to take advantage of consumers and profit through lies and deception,” Ms Driscoll said.
“The holders of motor vehicle licences also have an obligation to ensure that their employees are not breaking the Australian Consumer Law by making false and misleading representations to consumers, as they will be made equally liable in the eyes of the law.”
Consumers with concerns about car dealers can contact Consumer Protection on 1300 30 40 54 or by email: email@example.com .
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(Consumer Protection is a division of the Department of Commerce)
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Alan Hynd 9282 0961 or 0429-078791 firstname.lastname@example.org
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