Car seller fined for misleading buyers by winding back the odometer (Idrees Fadhil Oudah Al-Khafaji)

This announcement is for: 
ConsumerMotor industry
  • $8,500 total fine for reducing odometer reading by half prior to sale
  • Vehicle offered for sale on Facebook and then sold to his employer, a car yard
  • Behaviour described as gross dishonesty perpetrated on unsuspecting consumers

A Ballajura motor vehicle repairer who wound back the odometer reading of a vehicle by about 60,000 kilometres and then sold it to his employer has been fined a total of $8,500 by the Perth Magistrates Court.

Idrees Fadhil Oudah Al-Khafaji purchased a 2015 Toyota RAV4 from a private seller in December 2019 for $8,000 when it had an odometer reading of 127,994 kilometres. In June 2020 he advertised the vehicle on Facebook with an odometer reading of 67,000 kilometres and subsequently sold it to his employer, a Morley car yard, for $13,500.

At the time of the sale, the odometer showed 67,512 kilometres and the vehicle did not have a log book, service manual or warranty contract that would indicate the true reading.

The car yard on-sold the vehicle to another buyer. After the deception was uncovered, the current owner was offered a refund to return the car, but the offer was declined.

Mr Al-Khafaji pleaded guilty on 24 December 2021 and was fined $6,500 on one charge of altering a vehicle’s odometer and $1,000 each on two charges of making misleading representations, in breach of the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act. He was also ordered to pay $535.50 in costs.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection Penny Lipscombe said the repairer displayed gross dishonesty towards consumers and his employer.

“Winding back the odometer on a vehicle is the ultimate deception of car sellers as the odometer reading is a key factor in determining the vehicle’s value,” Ms Lipscombe said.

“Reducing the kilometres travelled by half, as in this case, is a serious scam perpetrated on unsuspecting buyers. Working at a car yard as a repairer puts Mr Al-Khafaji in a position where he knew exactly what he was doing and his actions were deliberate and calculating.

“There are a number of ways of finding out the true history of vehicles, so those who engage in this type of a scam will quickly be caught out. We have zero tolerance towards this deceptive practice whether perpetrated by individuals or businesses and we will take swift action against them.”

Consumers who believe they have been misled when purchasing a vehicle can lodge a complaint on the Consumer Protection website, email consumer@dmirs.wa.gov.au or call 1300 30 40 54.

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Media Contact: Alan Hynd, (08) 6552 9248 / 0429 078 791 / alan.hynd@dmirs.wa.gov.au  

Consumer Protection
Media release
05 Jan 2022

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