Fine and compensation order for car dealer over illegal consignment sale (Bunbury Autos Pty Ltd / Howard Bessant)

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ConsumerMotor industry

A Bunbury motor vehicle dealership and its Director have been fined a total of $6,700 by the Bunbury Magistrates Court on 17 January 2019 and ordered to pay $2,000 compensation to a consumer over an illegal consignment sale.

Bunbury Autos Pty Ltd was fined $5,500 after pleading guilty to entering into a consignment sale arrangement without the permission of the Commissioner for Consumer Protection and in contravention of the conditions of its licence. The dealer was fined $1,000 and Director Howard David Bessant was fined $200 for failing to notify the Commissioner when another Director ceased to be involved in the management of the company. An order was made for $2,000 in compensation to be paid to the car owner and an order to pay $953 in court costs.

In June 2017, a car owner approached Bunbury Autos wanting to sell a 2002 Mercedes-Benz A190L. The owner and Mr Bessant entered into a verbal agreement for the dealership to sell the vehicle for at least $2,000 with the proceeds, minus commission and charges, to go to the owner once sold.

The vehicle was sold in August 2017 for $3,500 but the owner never received any money from the proceeds of the sale.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said the informal consignment deal was based on trust which was breached by the dealer.

“Special permission is required for dealers to conduct consignment sales and there are strict rules that apply in relation to written agreements, setting up of trust accounts, the warranty and the length of time for payments to be made,” Mr Hillyard said.

“So consignment deals should not just be verbal agreements based on a handshake, the dealer needs to comply with these rules in order to protect the interests of the vehicle owner. Otherwise dealers must purchase the vehicle themselves and sell it in the second-hand market.

“We take a dim view of dealers who enter into informal consignment deals when they are not specifically licensed to do so and then disregard the laws covering these sales.

“I urge vehicle owners considering a consignment deal to familiarise themselves with the laws and ensure the dealer complies with them. If not, then we want to know so we can investigate and take appropriate action.”

For more information regarding the laws covering the selling of vehicles on consignment, go to the Consumer Protection website or enquiries can be made by email or by calling 1300 30 40 54.


Media Contact: Alan Hynd, (08) 6552 9248 / 0429 078 791 /  

Consumer Protection
Media release
21 Jan 2019

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