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Gold Coast motor dealer fined for leading consumers to a dead end

12 March 2018

A Gold Coast motor dealer was ordered to pay a total of $7,852 in fines and compensation by the Southport Magistrates Court today (12 March 2018), following an Office of Fair Trading (OFT) investigation.

Peter Stuart Mitchell, trading as Burleigh Cars in Burleigh Heads, pleaded guilty to two counts of accepting payment without supplying services and one count of making a false representation under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

The court heard, between February 2016 and July 2017 Mr Mitchell entered into transactions with consumers for the sale of three vehicles. One of the transactions involved Mr Mitchell misleading the consumer about the existence of a warranty. In the other two transactions Mr Mitchell accepted payment for a warranty and payment for registration and transfers which he did not progress.

In sentencing, the court considered Mr Mitchell’s lack of professionalism and failure to adequately supervise staff preparing motor vehicle contracts as significant factors in relation to the breaches.

Fair Trading Acting Executive Director Craig Routledge said the prosecution served as a warning to the industry on the OFT’s approach in protecting car buyers.

"Motor dealers must be transparent and comply with industry specific legislation and the ACL in their duties as licensed professionals," Mr Routledge said.

"Any failure to comply with their obligations will result in action by the OFT."

More information on the legal obligations for motor vehicle dealers is available from www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading or by calling 13 QGOV (13 74 68).