IT’S the oldest trick in the used car book.
Wiping kilometres off the odometer of a car and then slapping an inflated for sale sign on the windscreen.
The Discount Car Centre at Boolaroo has been fined $47,300 in Parramatta Local Court after Fair Trading inspectors caught the family-run business winding back the clock on 15 vehicles sold through the dealership in 2013.
One vehicle, a 2013 Holden Commodore Executive, had seemingly travelled back in time, with 175,820 kilometres wiped from its odometer in a single day.
The ruse was uncovered after Fair Trading inspected the business in October and December 2013, and found the vehicle was one of 15 sold through the dealership that had the odometer tampered with.
Fair Trading said sales records indicated the business was able to sell the vehicles for as much as four times their original purchase price.
The business and employees Stephen Roy Chew, David Lawrence Chew, Michelle Terese Davies and Jayden Jeremy Francis Chew were convicted of 16 offences in Parramatta Local Court and ordered to pay more than $47,000 in fines, compensation and court costs.
The Newcastle Herald attempted to contact staff at Discount Car Centre for comment on Sunday, but the number listed was disconnected and the website had been shut down.
Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe said the result sent a clear message to the car dealership industry that dodgy practices would not be tolerated.
‘‘Odometer tampering is a deceptive and dangerous practice as it hides the true condition and history of a vehicle from the buyer,’’ Mr Stowe said.
‘‘Buying a motor vehicle is a significant purchase and consumers can have confidence that NSW Fair Trading is doing its utmost to back them up by weeding out dishonest operators in the market.’’
In December, 2014, the NSW government, through the Motor Dealers Repairers Act, introduced tougher penalties for motor-vehicle dealer and repair offences.
As part of the new changes the maximum penalty for any dealer or repairer altering a car odometer was doubled to $22,000.