Auto torque 14th edition

Welcome to the latest edition of Auto torque

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

Update on the Motor Dealers & Repairers Regulation

It is expected that the Motor Dealers and Repairers Regulation and the Motor Dealers and Repairers Act 2013 will commence on 1 December 2014. The exception to this is the dispute resolution mechanism, which commenced previously on 27 November 2013.

This follows a period of consultation earlier in 2014 where over 30 submissions were received from a range of stakeholders, including industry groups and other NSW Government departments.

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We want your feedback!

NSW Fair Trading wants to make sure that our enewsletter and future information seminars meet your needs in terms of content and timing. We would appreciate you completing the very short automotive industry survey to help us provide a better service to you and the automotive industry.

http://surveys.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/Feedback_form_for_automotive_industry.asp

We will be running the next motor vehicle repairer seminar on 2 September in Bathurst. In addition to providing you with information about our services, the seminar will also assist you and your staff understand your rights and responsibilities under the new Motor Dealers and Repairers Act 2013.

The topics to be covered will include:

  • Introduction to Fair Trading services and the Motor Vehicle Services Unit
  • Motor Dealers and Repairers Act 2013
  • How Fair Trading mediates disputes
  • How to comply with current and new legislative requirements.

Time will be set aside for questions and discussion and to meet with Fair Trading staff. Visit Fair Trading’s Events register to book a seat.

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Rectification orders – an introduction

One of the changes to be brought in under the new automotive industry laws gives Fair Trading officers the authority to issue rectification orders to motor dealers and motor vehicle repairers.

This means that when a consumer lodges a complaint against a motor dealer or motor vehicle repairer, a Fair Trading officer may undertake an investigation of the vehicle. If the officer finds that work must be undertaken for the vehicle to comply with the dealer guarantee under the Act, they can issue a rectification order to the dealer or repairer in question.

Rectification orders will be written documents outlining the steps required to be taken by the dealer or repairer and will be issued by Fair Trading officers with mechanical qualifications.

A rectification order may specify conditions (including the payment of money) to be complied with by the complainant.

Contravention of a rectification order will be grounds for taking disciplinary action against a licence holder but ceases to have effect for the purposes of being a ground for disciplinary action if the matter giving rise to the order becomes the subject of an action before the Tribunal.

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Record keeping procedures must improve

Results from recent compliance activities and an analysis of complaints from consumers about the motor vehicle industry have revealed that the industry is failing to meet the requirements of the Motor Dealers Act and Regulation when it comes to record-keeping.

Poor record-keeping has been detected at the majority of dealerships during programs with 80% of dealerships being found to have not completed prescribed registers or notices in their entirety. Omissions have included failing to record the odometer or VIN in registers and failing to record the inspection report number or have the customer sign the prescribed notices.

Motor dealers are required to record all required particulars regarding the acquisition and disposal of motor vehicles and to have customers sign the relevant prescribed notice when selling a second hand vehicle.

Fair Trading inspectors will continue to monitor compliance. Motor dealers failing to comply with record-keeping requirements and can be issued with a $330 penalty notice for each omission in a register or notice.

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Parliamentary inquiry into the motor vehicle repair industry

The Parliamentary inquiry into the motor vehicle repair industry has published its report, which can be accessed via http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/motorvehiclerepairindustry.

The inquiry was established to examine matters including:

  • the standard of smash repair work in NSW
  • the relationship between repairers and insurers and their business practices
  • consumer issues
  • alternative models of regulation.

The Inquiry has made 21 recommendations to the Government. The Government has six months to consider the report and will provide a response to the Parliament by 2 January 2015.

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Burwood car dealership convicted of odo tampering

A Burwood car dealership has been found guilty of odometer tampering and its former director convicted of multiple breaches of motor vehicle dealer legislation.

Zeneli Pty Ltd, trading as Xtreme Motorsports in Burwood, was convicted of one charge of odometer interference, two charges of false or misleading representations on goods or services and nine charges relating to the Motor Dealers Act 1974 in Parramatta Local Court on 6 June 2014.  The company was ordered to pay $3,670 fines and costs.

The consumer who bought the vehicle with the altered odometer from Xtreme Motorsports has since been paid $2,954 compensation. Susan Xeneli, the former director of the company, pleaded guilty to three charges of failing to enter a vehicle’s particulars into a register, two charges of failing to attach a prescribed notice to vehicles and three charges of failing to comply, maintain and deposit money from consignment sales into a trust account. She was ordered to pay $1,730 fines and costs.

On 19 June 2014, Ms Xeneli’s motor vehicle dealers licence was cancelled and she was disqualified from the industry for four years. Her new company's licence, for Japanese Imports, was also cancelled.

Motor vehicle repairers and motor dealers licences for Zeneli Pty Ltd, which is now in liquidation, have been cancelled and the company has been permanently disqualified. The company’s current director, Joseph Dib, has also been disqualified for four years.

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Minchinbury car dealers disqualified for five years

Michael Saba, a shareholder of A1 Auto Trader Pty Ltd, has been disqualified for a period of five years from being involved in the conduct of the business of a motor dealer.

The Minchinbury dealership and its director have also been reprimanded by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) following action taken by NSW Fair Trading.

In addition, strict conditions have been imposed on A1 Auto Trader Pty Ltd requiring Mr Saba to resign as shareholder and to have no involvement whatsoever with the dealership for five years.

Mr Saba was previously disqualified from being involved in the business of a motor dealer for a period of 12 months between 2011 and 2012. A1 Auto Trader Pty Ltd was prosecuted on 11 September 2013 for operating a motor vehicle dealership at unlicensed premises.

The business was trading from Lot 20, 591 Carlisle Avenue, Minchinbury but was licensed to trade only from Lot 21, 591 Carlisle Avenue, Minchinbury. A1 Auto Trader was convicted of unlicensed dealing and ordered to pay $1,335 fines and costs.

Subsequent inspections of the trader by NSW Fair Trading uncovered numerous contraventions of the Motor Dealers Act and Regulation. This resulted in disciplinary action against Mr Saba, A1 Auto Trader Pty Ltd and its director Ms Souhad Sukkar. In addition, fines were issued to the dealership and Mr Saba personally to the value of $11,000.

Mr Saba, the business and Ms Sukkar subsequently appealed Fair Trading’s decision to take disciplinary action to the NCAT.

On 1 May 2014 the NCAT made orders affirming the disqualification of Mr Saba, reprimanded the business and Ms Sukkar and imposed conditions on the motor dealer licence of A1 Auto Trader Pty Ltd.

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