Cairns backyard car dealer cops $7,000 fine

29 January 2020

A Cairns man has been fined $7,000 in court yesterday after the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) found him selling dozens of used motor vehicles without a licence.

Russell Mark Wilkinson pleaded guilty to acting as an unlicensed motor dealer. No conviction was recorded.

The Cairns Magistrates Court heard that between September 2018 and September 2019, Mr Wilkinson advertised more than 40 vehicles for sale on Facebook and Gumtree under various profiles.

The advertisements listed the cars for sale at his residence in Cairns and numerous safety certificates in Mr Wilkinson’s name confirmed he had sold, purchased and swapped a number of vehicles.

During this time, Mr Wilkinson did not have the licence required to operate as a motor dealer in Queensland.

Magistrate Jane Bentley noted that it was the second time Mr Wilkinson had been disciplined for backyard dealing after he was fined in 2016 for the same offence.

OFT Executive Director Brian Bauer said motor dealers were required to be licensed to help ensure only suitable people were operating in the industry.

“Fair Trading takes these types of matters very seriously and encourages all consumers to report any suspected unlicensed motor dealers,” Mr Bauer said.

“We also encourage consumers to check that the person they are buying a motor vehicle from is licensed via a free search on the OFT website.

“Purchasing a vehicle from a licensed dealer gives consumers protections they do not have when buying privately such as a cooling-off period, a statutory warranty, and a guarantee that there will be no money owing on the vehicle to finance companies by previous owners.”

More information on the legal obligations for motor vehicle dealers is available on the OFT website or by calling 13 QGOV (13 74 68).