Car dealer fined for duping client

Cavalier Asset Pty Ltd, trading as Rockingham Windsor and Statewide Cars and Commercials, was fined $20,000 in the Rockingham Magistrates Court on August 15 for breaching the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) and $7000 for breaching the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act. The company was also ordered to pay court costs of $8253.

Sole director of the company Daniel Lance Grant was fined $4000 for breaching the ACL and $1200 for breaching the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act.

Lawyers for Consumer Protection told the court that in August, 2011, the dealership signed an agreement with a client to sell a caravan on consignment at an agreed price of $50,000, with the dealer to be paid $2000 commission from the proceeds.

A few months later, Grant contacted the owner to say he had a buyer interested in purchasing the caravan for $40,000 and that $38,000 would be paid to the owner and $2000 would be retained by the company. This was agreed to, but the amount on the consignment contract was not varied.

In January, 2012, the caravan was sold to a buyer at the original price of $50,000 by way of a trade-in vehicle and finance, but Grant notified the owner that the caravan had been sold for $40,000.

The company and Grant were charged with making a false or misleading representation. Other charges related to the operation of the trust account and failing to ensure the consignment agreement and process complied with the law.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll said it was essential for motor vehicle dealers to comply explicitly with the law, particularly when selling on consignment.