Vic Park car yard fined $10,000 over misleading ad (Youngs WA Pty Ltd)

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A Victoria Park used car dealer has been fined $10,000 by the Perth Magistrates Court for making misleading claims when advertising a car for sale.

Youngs WA Pty Ltd was also ordered to pay legal costs of $667.50 when convicted on 3 April 2020 of two charges of breaching the Australian Consumer Law by making false or misleading representations.

In December 2018, the car yard placed an advertisement on the carsales.com.au website for a Holden Commodore, the ad stated that the vehicle only had “one owner from new” and came with “three years’ warranty until 2022 for peace of mind”.

A Balga consumer bought the car and, after reviewing the service history book, found out that there had been two previous owners.

The actual warranty offered to the consumer was for 175,000 kilometres or three years, whichever came first.  The misrepresentation was the omission of the kilometre expiry date in the advertisement. The full warranty was provided to the consumer by the dealer before finalising the sale, but by this time he had already entered negotiations.

When sentencing, Magistrate Randazzo took into consideration the company’s almost one hundred years of trading with an unblemished record, an early guilty plea and its actions in providing the consumer with a refund. Youngs WA also told the Court that the breaches were unintentional and procedural changes have been made to ensure the offences are not repeated in the future.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection Penny Lipscombe said that all car dealers need to be meticulous when checking that the claims they make in advertisements are true in all cases.

“Consumers rely heavily on the information supplied to them to make purchasing decisions, so it’s very important that information is not false or misleading,” Ms Lipscombe said.

“While an oversight was to blame in the Youngs WA case, that excuse cannot be used in defence of breaking consumer law. It was an expensive lesson for the company to learn, not only in terms of the financial penalty imposed but also the damage to their reputation in the marketplace.”

More consumer information and advice on buying a car is available on the Consumer Protection website and enquiries can be made by email consumer@dmirs.wa.gov.au or by calling 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
09 Apr 2020

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