$80,000 in fines and costs for selling vehicles without a warranty (Wanneroo Cars and Commercials / Brian Whitehead)

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ConsumerMotor industry

A Wangara motor vehicle dealer and its sole Director have been ordered to pay a total of more than $80,000 in fines and costs by the Joondalup Magistrates Court for selling used vehicles without a warranty.

Ridgehaven Holdings Pty Ltd, trading as Wanneroo Cars and Commercials of Wangara (now closed), and its sole Director Brian John Whitehead pleaded guilty to 29 charges under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) and 10 charges under the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA).

The charges relate to the sale of 29 vehicles between October 2011 and September 2013 where the dealership had buyers sign a statement that no warranty would be provided. This was in breach of the ACL because a warranty was available under the MVDA for used vehicles over the value of $4,000, which had travelled less than 180,000 kilometres and were less than ten years old. The dealership also breached the MVDA for failing to display the correct notices, instead displaying notices which contained a false statement that no warranty applied.

Under the ACL charges, the company was fined $50,000 and Mr Whitehead was fined $14,000. Under the MVDA charges, the company was fined $10,000 and Mr Whitehead was fined $4,000. The company was also ordered to pay Court costs of $2,416.

In handing down the penalty, Magistrate De Vries said the motor vehicle industry in WA had improved due to compliance with the Act and further compliance with the law is needed to ensure the industry maintains this image. He said the penalty will send a strong message to car dealers.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll said it was clear from the outcome of this Court case that there are serios consequences for any motor vehicle dealer who disregards consumer law.

“To fail to offer a warranty and then mislead consumers about their rights under consumer law is a serious offence,” Ms Driscoll said.

“Motor vehicle dealers must ensure that they and their staff are complying with the law and providing information to car buyers that is true and accurate at all times.

“Consumers are reminded that warranties are provided under the MVDA and ACL for second-hand motor vehicles.”

Further information on used car warranties is available on the Consumer Protection website www.commerce.wa.gov.au/motorvehicles or by emailing consumer@commerce.wa.gov.au or by calling 1300 30 40 54.

END OF RELEASE

Media contact (Consumer Protection)

Consumer Protection
Media release
19 Sep 2014

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