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Court slams brakes on backyard motor dealer

A backyard motor dealer has been ordered to pay $16,500 in the Beenleigh Magistrates Court on 17 June 2021 after being charged by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) for unlicensed motor dealing and making false representations about the distance vehicles have travelled.

Michael John Tyler pleaded guilty to five offences under the Motor Dealers and Chattel Auctioneers Act 2014. A conviction was not recorded.

The court heard that in April 2018, Mr Tyler purchased 21 used motor vehicles through online auctions and then advertised 14 of them for sale on a popular online marketplace platform.

Mr Tyler went on to sell one of those vehicles, a 2005 Mazda 323 he had purchased with an odometer reading of 190,862km. It was sold with an odometer reading of 78,530km, a difference of more than 112,000kms.

Mr Tyler sold the Mazda to a young, unsuspecting Mount Gravatt consumer who only became aware of the discrepancy after his mechanic advised them the car’s engine looked like it had done a lot more mileage than its odometer indicated.

In August 2018, a second vehicle a 2008 Nissan Micra bought by Mr Tyler from an online auction with an odometer reading of more than 260,000km, was advertised and sold in December 2018 to another consumer with the odometer showing only 148,070km.

The court heard Mr Tyler purchased, advertised and sold vehicles when he was not licensed as a motor dealer, a requirement under OFT-administered legislation.

In sentencing, Magistrate Michael O’Driscoll said that Mr Tyler’s actions compromised the integrity of the motor dealing industry and the community expected motor dealers to act above board.

Commissioner for Fair Trading, Victoria Thomson said the OFT takes misrepresentation of odometer readings very seriously.

“Odometer readings don’t just contribute to the vehicle’s value, they also impact on safety,” Ms Thomson said.

“The number of kilometres displayed on an odometer is used to indicate when services are due and when certain parts, like brake components, need replacing.

“Vehicles sold without the correct odometer reading are high risk and can cause fatalities.

“This penalty also sends a message to those who might be considering a side-line selling vehicles - whether you operate from a caryard or a backyard, you need to be licensed.”

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