Sunshine Coast speedo cheat fined $10,000
A Sunshine Coast man has been fined $10,000 in the Maroochydore Magistrates Court (9 May 2022) after being investigated by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) for making false representations about vehicle odometer readings and trading without a motor dealer’s licence.
Martin Westwood pleaded guilty to two offences under the Motor Dealers and Chattel Auctioneers Act 2014 for making a false or misleading representation about the distance travelled by a motor vehicle, and for motor dealing without holding a licence.
Mr Westwood was fined $10,000 and ordered to pay in $3,000 in legal costs. A conviction was not recorded.
The court heard that between May 2019 and June 2020, Mr Westwood, the sole director of Euro Car Electronics Pty Ltd, also known as Euro Car Upgrades Pty Ltd, purchased used vehicles, and later advertised them for sale online with a lower mileage.
One vehicle, a 2010 Volkswagen Caddy, was purchased by Mr Westwood for $500 and had a recorded odometer reading of 244,139 kilometres. Mr Westwood later listed the vehicle for sale online with a mileage of 130,000 kilometres and sold it to an unsuspecting buyer.
Mr Westwood sold six motor vehicles with a combined value of $81,668 through online platforms and the company’s Facebook page despite not having a dealer’s licence.
In sentencing, Magistrate Rodney Madsen noted that Mr Westwood was deceptive in his conduct and should have disclosed information to the consumer so that they could have factored this into their decision to buy the vehicle.
Commissioner for Fair Trading Victoria Thomson said the Office of Fair Trading won’t hesitate to investigate people who misrepresent odometer readings or conduct unlicensed activities in the motor dealing industry.
“Falsely representing the distance travelled by a motor vehicle is a serious offence that not only results in financial detriment to unsuspecting buyers but can also pose a safety risk to all road users,” Ms Thomson said.
“Any person acquiring motor vehicles primarily for the purpose of re-sale must be licensed.”
Consumers are encouraged to report unlawful practices in the motor industry by lodging a complaint at www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading or by calling 13 QGOV (13 74 68).