Perth Magistrates Court fines man for deception when selling his car

Deception: A Perth man has been fined after he
Deception: A Perth man has been fined after he "deceived" a buyer into thinking the car had less kilometres. Picture: Shutterstock.

A dramatic reduction of a vehicle's odometer reading prior to sale has been described by a Perth magistrate as 'brazen and egregious' with the seller fined $2,000 for deception.

According to the Consumer Protection department, Vishvender Tejpal Singh from Kenwick was sentenced in his absence and also ordered to pay costs of $1,208 in the Perth Magistrates Court on March 2 for breaching the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act.

The department stated that in September 2019, Mr Singh paid $3,150 for a 2011 Subaru Liberty sedan that had an odometer reading of 240,812 kilometres.

The vehicle was sold by Mr Singh for $7,000 three weeks later when it had an odometer reading of approximately 84,000km, a reduction of 156,812km.

Consumer Protection told the court that Mr Singh was aware of the reduction in the odometer reading and sold the vehicle with the intent of deceiving the buyer.

Consumer Protection said Magistrate Young described the offence as 'brazen and egregious' as the vehicle was sold for more than double of the original price largely due to the odometer reading.

Department executive director Trish Blake condemned the selling of the vehicle with the full knowledge that the odometer reading wasn't accurate.

"The odometer reading is an important factor in valuing a vehicle and can determine how much a buyer is prepared to pay, so to sell a vehicle knowing the odometer has been wound back is the ultimate deception and a callous act of dishonesty," Ms Blake said.

"Apart from misrepresenting a car's value, if an odometer doesn't reflect the number of kilometres a vehicle has actually travelled, the necessary checks, services and repairs may not be carried out at the required times, potentially leaving unsuspecting consumers exposed to mechanical and safety issues.

"Both digital and analogue odometers can be tampered with and changed so buyers of vehicles that show unusually low kilometres travelled should be sceptical and do further checks.

"One way is to make sure the vehicle comes with a log-book and check the service history for records of odometer readings. To further ensure they are correct and consistent, buyers can contact the dealer or repairer and ask them to verify the entries.

"A Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) check can tell you whether a car has been stolen, has money owing on it or has been a repairable write-off, and sometimes may include an odometer reading check."

Car buyers who believe they have been misled can lodge a complaint on the Consumer Protection website or make enquiries by email consumer@dmirs.wa.gov.au or by calling 1300 30 40 54.