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Vehicle rego doesn't register for motor dealer

14 September 2021

A Southport motor dealer has been ordered to pay over $2,000 after charges were brought by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) for misleading car buyers about stamp duty and vehicle transfer fees.  

Matthew John Rhodin, who operated under Classic Automobiles Pty Ltd, pleaded guilty to two counts of making false representations about the sale of goods under the Motor Dealers and Chattel Auctioneers Act 2014. A conviction was not recorded.

The Southport Magistrates Court heard on 13 September 2021 that two consumers had purchased vehicles from Mr Rhodin in August 2020 and paid fees for stamp duty and for the transfer of the vehicles’ registration into their names.

Contracts and tax invoices were provided to the consumers itemising these fees.

However, after making contact with the Department of Transport and Main Roads the consumers became aware that the vehicles purchased had not been transferred into their names and they were required to pay these fees again. Despite both consumers contacting Mr Rhodin numerous times, he did not transfer the vehicles.

The court also heard that Mr Rhodin made false representations to one of the consumers by stating the vehicle they purchased had only had one previous owner when in fact it had two.

In sentencing, Magistrate Louisa Pink took into account Mr Rhodin’s early guilty plea, his remorse, and willingness to pay the debt associated with the additional stamp duty and registration fees.

Commissioner for Fair Trading Victoria Thomson said motor dealers who misled consumers would be investigated by the OFT.

“This decision should serve as a reminder to all motor dealers of their obligation to abide by the law, and of their duty to act honestly with consumers,” Ms Thomson said.

“Motor dealers who fail to follow the legislation will be held accountable.”

If consumers believe they have been misled by a motor dealer, they are encouraged to lodge a complaint with the OFT online at http://www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading or by calling 13 QGOV (13 74 68).

Further information about buying a car is also available on the OFT’s website.