Broome used car dealer to pay fines and compensation (Thomrowe Pty Ltd / Motorhouse)

A Broome used car dealer and one of its directors have been ordered to pay a total of $13,766 in fines, compensation and costs after being found guilty of making false representations to two customers.

Thomrowe Pty Ltd, trading as Motorhouse of Clementson Street Broome, and a director who was granted a spent conviction order, were each fined a total of $2,500 on 14 April 2014 over the two charges under the Australian Consumer Law and Fair Trading Act.  As a result of the Consumer Protection prosecution, one of the customers was awarded compensation of $1,990.

The first matter alleged that, in August 2010, Motorhouse sold a Mazda Bravo to a couple for $10,500 on the condition that the vehicle was serviced, wheels aligned, battery replaced and a thump sensation coming from the drive train be investigated and repaired. When the couple picked up the vehicle, they were assured by the car yard that the work had been carried out, but later realised that none of the conditions had been met.

The couple returned the vehicle to the car yard and had the battery replaced and a water leak fixed, but they were told that the “thump” coming from the vehicle was “normal”. The buyers had the vehicle inspected by three local repairers who diagnosed the problem. The company and director were fined $1,500 each for this false representation about the quality of the vehicle. Despite ten visits to the car yard by the couple over three months, the dealer refused to acknowledge that the car had a mechanical problem.

The second matter alleged that, in July 2011, Motorhouse sold a Landrover Freelander to a woman for $7,999 and then offered an extended warranty for $1,990 which was accepted.  Motorhouse, which was an authorised representative of Australian Warranty Network Pty Ltd, failed to submit the signed application and fee in order to validate the extended warranty. The company and director were fined $1,000 each for this false representation about the existence of an extended warranty and ordered to refund the warranty costs to the customer.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll said it is a fundamental requirement for car dealers to be open and honest with consumers at all times.

“It is easy to take advantage of a potential buyer’s lack of mechanical knowledge, so all transactions between the dealer and customer must be transparent and based on total honesty,” Ms Driscoll said.

“Consumers expect, and are entitled to, true and accurate information on which to make informed purchasing choices.

“Attempts by car dealers to profit through deception may result in prosecution and, in serious cases, could jeopardise the dealer’s licence to operate.”

Further information can be obtained on the Consumer Protection website www.commerce.wa.gov.au/consumerprotection or by emailing consumer@commerce.wa.gov.au or by calling 1300 30 40 54.

END OF RELEASE

(Consumer Protection is a division of the Department of Commerce)

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Media Contact:
Alan Hynd  9282 0961 or 0429-078791  alan.hynd@commerce.wa.gov.au

 

Consumer Protection
Media release
15 Apr 2014

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