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Dishonest ad steers motor dealer to court

A Brisbane motor dealer has been fined $3,000 in the Brisbane Magistrates Court after being investigated by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) for advertising a car for sale online with an incorrect odometer reading.

Arkan Karimi pleaded guilty to one offence under the Australian Consumer Law for making a false or misleading representation about the distance travelled by a motor vehicle. He was fined $3,000 and ordered to pay legal costs.

The court heard that in October 2021, Mr Karimi acquired a used vehicle with an odometer reading of 285,988km. He later advertised this vehicle for sale with a reading of 165,000km.

An OFT inspector visited Mr Karimi’s place of business to confirm it matched the advertisement but the odometer reading noted in the advert was incorrect by more than 120,000km.

The court was told Mr Karimi knew the history of the vehicle but still misrepresented the distance travelled in the advertisement. The vehicle was not sold to anyone.

In sentencing on 17 June 2022, Magistrate Mark Nolan stated the offence was serious as unsuspecting consumers may have paid more for the vehicle than it was worth.

Commissioner for Fair Trading Victoria Thomson said motor dealers suspected of selling cars by baiting buyers with supposedly low mileage vehicles will be pursued by the OFT as this type of conduct is not tolerated.

“Motor dealers are expected to meet their legal obligations and deliberately misleading consumers is not acceptable,” Ms Thomson said. “This type of behaviour can bring the whole industry into disrepute.”

Consumers are encouraged to report unlawful practices in the motor industry to the OFT by lodging a complaint at www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading or by calling 13 QGOV (13 74 68).