Auto torque 13th edition

Welcome to the latest edition of Auto torque

Auto torque is NSW Fair Trading’s e-newsletter for the automotive industry.

We want to make Auto Torque relevant and interesting to you. Please send comments, suggestion or topics you wish to see covered to our new email address autotorque@finance.nsw.gov.au

Accuracy of odometer readings on imported vehicles

Fair Trading continues to receive complaints from consumers relating to the accuracy of odometers in second hand vehicles imported from Japan.

Complaints from consumers have detailed a range of defects including major rust and engine faults that had become apparent shortly after purchase. Fair Trading officers investigating these complaints have found the rust or engine faults are not commensurate with the recorded distance travelled on the vehicles odometer. 

Motor Dealers are reminded of the requirements of the Australian Consumer Law and when selling imported second hand vehicles that consumers must not be misled as to the true distance travelled by a vehicle. 

The Motor Dealers Regulation 2010 prescribes the form of notices for both warrantable and non-warrantable vehicles. The forms require a motor dealer to not only record the odometer reading of a vehicle at the time of sale but while the vehicle is offered or displayed for sale to record the distance travelled by the vehicle. This may differ to the odometer reading.

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Court upholds odometer tamperers prison sentence

Fair Trading Minister Stuart Ayres has welcomed the District Court’s decision to uphold the agency’s first custodial sentence for an unlicensed motor dealer who tampered with odometers.

Adam Assad of Yagoona, was convicted of four Crimes Act 1900 offences and six Motor Dealers Act 1974 offences including fraud, odometer tampering and unlicensed motor dealing, on 29 November 2013.

He was sentenced to eight months imprisonment and ordered to pay $36,626 in fines, costs and compensation by Parramatta Local Court. The total amount of compensation Mr Assad was ordered to pay to three victims was $19,776.  Mr Assad appealed the severity of his sentence to the Parramatta District Court.

On 19 March 2014, the Judge issued a “Parker Direction” in relation to the Crimes Act 1900 offences, noting that he would have imposed a lengthier sentence – a 12 month prison sentence with a non-parole period of not less than six months.

Mr Assad then withdrew his appeal as to the Crimes Act offences. The District Court affirmed the custodial orders handed down in the Local Court and sentenced Mr Assad to eight months imprisonment with a three month non-parole period.

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Automotive complaints continue to be a top 10 issue for Fair Trading

Since 2010, automotive complaints from consumers received by Fair Trading have increased annually, that number exceeding 5,000 complaints in 2013. 

The table below lists the total number of complaints received for automotive categories and their rank amongst the top 10 categories received by NSW Fair Trading in the given year.

Automotive Complaint Category

2010

2011

2012

2013

Total

Rank

Total

Rank

Total

Rank

Total

Rank

Used cars and motor cycles

2313

3

2258

3

2309

2

2155

2

Repairs and servicing

1614

5

1584

7

1508

7

1711

6

New cars and motor cycles

968

10

1029

9

1113

9

1349

8

Automotive businesses can minimise complaints, improve their reputation, and customer satisfaction through:

  • ensuring motor vehicle repairs are completed to a high standard
  • implementing complaints management processes
  • understanding and adhering to consumer guarantees under the Australian Consumer Law
  • understanding and adhering statutory warranty requirements.

Further information

Australian Consumer Law 
Consumer guarantees 
Dealing with customers

To assist automotive businesses to improve their compliance and reduce the number of consumer complaints, Fair Trading officers conduct trader education visits to various automotive businesses throughout NSW. The visits are part of a pro-active strategy aimed at educating individual business on complaint management, consumer guarantees under the Australian Consumer Law, statutory warranty requirements and the quality of motor vehicle repairs.

The trader education visits are an integral and ongoing part of Fair Trading's response to increasing complaint levels within the automotive industry.

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Unlicensed Auburn car dealer prosecuted

A Sydney man who bought and sold motor vehicles and received cars on consignment without a licence has been prosecuted by Fair Trading.

Hakan Karakaya, also known as Harvey Karakaya, was convicted ex-parte and ordered to pay $8,085 fines and costs on 7 March 2014.  Mr Karakaya was operating a car dealership without a licence at 188 Parramatta Road, Auburn, using the business names Sydney Auto Sales and Sydney Autos.

The business names Sydney Auto Sales and Sydney Auto are not registered to Mr Karakaya but to another individual.

The Sydney Auto Sales car dealership that operates from 166 Parramatta Road in Ashfield is a legitimate business and is not associated with Mr Karakaya or with any NSW Fair Trading prosecution action.

An investigation into Mr Karakaya was launched by Fair Trading following continuing consumer complaints.  On 5 February 2014, Fair Trading investigators carried out an inspection of the motor vehicles offered and displayed for sale at the Auburn premises.  Investigators were unable to gain entry at that time, and returned later that day with a search warrant in order to conduct an inspection.

Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe issued a public warning against Mr Karakaya and Sydney Auto Sales in Auburn, under Section 86A  of the Fair Trading Act 1987.

Public warning: Do not deal with Hakan aka Harvey Karakaya

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Know your rights when buying a used car

Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe is calling on consumers from diverse backgrounds to take advantage of the extensive information available from NSW Fair Trading before buying a used car.

New migrants and people from non-English speaking backgrounds can face problems when undertaking a major purchase such as a car because of a lack of understanding of their consumer rights. Many people worry they’ve picked a lemon when buying a used car but the wealth of information available through Fair Trading will equip all consumers with the knowledge to make the right purchasing decisions.

Mr Stowe recommended Fair Trading’s Buying a used car brochure, which is published in seven languages – Arabic, Chinese, Dinka, English, Farsi, Tamil and Vietnamese.

“This brochure has detailed information, including advice on the different rights and responsibilities consumers may have when buying a car privately, buying from a licensed dealer, buying at auction or buying from a friend,” he said.

Fair Trading also has a free app for smart phones and tablets, called My next car. The My next car app allows users to store photos and details of cars they are considering buying, includes an inspection check list and can compare cars side-by-side. The app can also order a debt check on a vehicle and calculate loan repayments.

My next car app and Buying a used car brochure are available from the Fair Trading website.

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Car dealer prosecuted for obstructing investigators

A Liverpool car dealer has been convicted and fined for hindering and obstructing NSW Fair Trading officers conducting an investigation into the dealership.

Bashir Bohsali was ordered to pay $1,835 fines and costs in Parramatta Local Court on 12 March 2014.

His business, Auto Motiv Sound & Security Pty Ltd, was also ordered to pay further fines and costs of $1,835 for operating a motor vehicle dealership from unlicensed premises.

Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe said obstructing Fair Trading investigators was a serious offence.

The court heard Fair Trading investigators attended the premises on 16 May 2013, where they were confronted by Mr Bohsali who began swearing and shouting abuse at them.

When the investigators attempted to leave the premises Mr Bohsali obstructed the exit. He then followed the investigators back to their car and attempted to prevent the car from leaving.

“This is conduct unbecoming for anyone running a business,” Mr Stowe said.

“All motor vehicle dealers in NSW must hold the appropriate licence applicable to the correct address of the business.

“It is expected when Fair Trading conducts licence compliance checks businesses will cooperate fully and not attempt to hinder or threaten the investigators in any way.”

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Motor vehicle dealers put on notice

Fair Trading investigators were recently out in force, checking on regulatory compliance at more than 100 dealerships across Sydney. A dozen dealerships showed levels of non-compliance and 33 breaches of the Motor Dealers Act 1974 or the Motor Dealers Regulation 2010 were detected.

As a result, Fair Trading officers issued 22 penalty infringement notices totaling $7,260.

Inspections of dealerships will continue throughout 2014 and non-compliant dealerships will be fined and re-inspected, to ensure the breaches are rectified.

In 2013, Fair Trading received 1,300 complaints relating to new car dealers and 2,570 complaints relating to used car dealers.  While repairs and maintenance issues and problems relating to warranties featured prominently in the complaint figures, defects were the most complained about issue for both new and used car categories.

Fair Trading will continue to maintain a strong inspection program in all areas, including the new and used motor vehicle industries.

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