An unlicensed second-hand car seller in Albert Park has been convicted and fined
$20,000, plus $800 in prosecution costs following investigations by the state’s consumer watchdog.
Mr Alecos Pericleous pleaded guilty in the Port Adelaide Magistrates court to breaching the Second-Hand Vehicle Dealers Act by operating a second-hand car dealer business without an appropriate license.
Commissioner for Consumer Affairs, Dini Soulio said “CBS received complaints that vehicles had been given to Mr Pericleous on consignment, which is a process where a car dealer agrees to sell a vehicle on behalf of a consumer.”
As part of consignment, a dealer is required to pay the former owner the sale proceeds less an agreed commission.
The Commissioner said it was found Mr Pericleous had sold cars through this process without giving funds to the owners he was dealing with.
“This is an important reminder that CBS regulates this industry thoroughly and anyone caught trying to rort the system will be caught and punished,” the Commissioner said.
“Thankfully, a number of consumers lodged successful applications for compensation for vehicles they had placed on consignment with him.
“Unlicensed sellers avoid any obligations with respect to warranty repairs and place consumers at risk in relation to what is often a large investment.”
In addition, Mr Pericleous agreed to purchase a car from a licensed dealer, but failed to make any payment in respect of that vehicle. He subsequently sold the vehicle to another dealer. This act led to Pericleous also being charged with deception by South Australian Police.
He also pleaded guilty to this charge, was convicted and placed on a two-year good behaviour bond in the amount of $3,000. He was ordered to pay $15,000 in compensation.
Motor Trade Association Chief Executive Officer Paul Unerkov said the industry is pleased with this enforcement outcome.
“The MTA welcomes the efforts of Consumer and Business Services in protecting consumers,” Mr Unerkov said.
“The recent conviction should be a warning to other unlicensed sellers who are operating illegally that CBS and the industry is not willing to allow these practices.
“The industry will continue to work with CBS to eradicate these sellers for the benefit of South Australian consumers,” he said.
If consumers have any concerns about their interactions with unlicensed second-hand car sellers they are encouraged to contact CBS on 131 882.
Consumers can check whether a dealer is licenced by searching the CBS Licensing Public Register at http://pubreg.ocba.sa.gov.au/ or can visit the Personal Property Securities Register to view the history of a vehicle at http://www.ppsr.gov.au.