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Gold Coast odometer tamperer rolled

9 March 2020

A Paradise Point man has been fined $17,000 in the Southport Magistrates Court today (9 March 2020) after being investigated by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) for falsifying odometer readings.

Simon Michael Birch pleaded guilty to four breaches of the Motor Dealers and Chattel Auctioneers Act 2014 by making false or misleading representations about the distance travelled by four motor vehicles.

Mr Birch was fined $17,000. A conviction was not recorded.

The court heard that between December 2017 and May 2019, Mr Birch purchased four used vehicles from various Queensland wholesalers and dealerships, and later on-sold them with a lower mileage.

One vehicle, a 2012 Nissan Navara, was purchased by Mr Birch for approximately $5,894 and had a recorded odometer reading of 317,446 kilometres.

Mr Birch later listed the vehicle for sale online with a mileage of 117,446kms and it was subsequently purchased by a Woorim resident for $11,500.

On average, the odometers of all four vehicles had been lowered by over 100,000kms each and Mr Birch had profited by over $5,000 from each of the four sales.

In sentencing, Magistrate Sinclair noted the defendant’s early guilty plea but also that he gained significant financial profit from the conduct, with the penalty needing to act as a deterrent.

Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer is warning traders that the OFT takes odometer tampering very seriously.

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

“Regular servicing of important components such as brakes might be missed if the new owner and their mechanic are not aware of the true distance a vehicle has travelled. Risking people’s safety in this way is simply not acceptable.”

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).