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End of the road for Gold Coast odo cheat

An Arundel motor dealer was ordered to pay $5,000 after pleading guilty to tampering with the odometer reading of a car he sold.

This was the second time the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has taken Christos Spiro Tsalapataris, who traded as GC Car Wholesale, to court for this offence.

The Southport Magistrates Court heard that in June 2020, Mr Tsalapataris paid $6,100 to a Southport motor dealer for a 2011 Mitsubishi Triton with an odometer reading of 369,662kms.

Later that day, Mr Tsalapataris advertised the same vehicle on Facebook Marketplace for sale at $12,490 and offered six months registration for an additional $450. The advertisement stated the odometer reading for the vehicle was only 169,000kms.

Mr Tsalapataris sold the vehicle to a consumer for $11,350 with the odometer showing 168,232kms, more than 200,000kms fewer than the original reading.

This was Mr Tsalapataris’ second court appearance as a result of an OFT investigation into odometer tampering. In 2015 he was fined $3,900 for unlicensed motor dealing and making false representations about the mileage of vehicles.

In sentencing, Magistrate Catherine Pirie noted members of the community are very concerned about purchasing used vehicles and this particular charge is a very real concern and not to be treated lightly.

Commissioner for Fair Trading Victoria Thomson said the OFT wouldn’t hesitate to go after motor dealers who falsify odometer readings.

“Vehicles sold with tampered odometer readings are of high risk and can cause fatalities,” said Ms Thomson.

“Odometer readings contribute to a vehicle’s safety as well as its value, that’s why tampering with an odometer is against the law.

“Risking people’s safety on more than one occasion in this way is simply not acceptable.”

The OFT will assess Mr Tsalapataris’s suitability under the Motor Dealers and Chattel Auctioneers Act 2014 to continue to hold a motor dealer licence.

Specific guidance on the legal requirements for motor vehicle sales and repairs is available from www.qld.gov.au/law/fair-trading or by calling 13 QGOV (13 74 68).