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4 April 2012

A backyard car dealer has been placed on a $7500 good behaviour bond in the Port Augusta Magistrates Court after pleading guilty to selling cars without a licence.

75 year old Ronald Maxwell Heneker of Hospital Rd, Port Augusta, pleaded guilty to carrying on a business as a car dealer without a licence and breaching an Assurance made to the Commissioner for Consumer Affairs.

Evidence obtained by Business and Consumer Services (CBS) showed Heneker purchased, advertised and sold five vehicles between December 2009 and July 2010.

Commissioner for Consumer Affairs Paul White said investigations began when an anonymous letter was received by Service SA in Port Augusta advising that Mr Heneker may be still operating as a backyard dealer.

“Mr Heneker gave an Assurance in October 2009 that he would refrain from this type of conduct, but it wasn’t long before he breached it.

“No written sales contracts were entered into between Mr Heneker and the purchasers, who indicated they thought they were buying the cars privately,” Commissioner White said.

CBS is currently undertaking three significant compliance projects in targeting illegal conduct under the Second-hand Vehicle Dealers Act 1995:

•    Unlicensed second-hand vehicle dealing (backyarders);
•    Sales practices emerging in the vehicle auction sector;
•    Vehicle sales in remote Indigenous communities.

In 2011, CBS targeted vehicle sales occurring in car parks and on roadsides in the southern suburbs with officers conducting weekend monitoring in August and September 2011. A total of 91 vehicles were inspected and this resulted in a number of follow-up investigations

CBS monitored two auction houses in Adelaide, inspecting vehicles offered for sale to consumers described as ‘buy it now’, to ensure they comply with all legal requirements.

As a result of this monitoring, CBS has now issued a written warning to one auction house and issued an expiation notice and received a written assurance (enforceable undertaking) from the other.

To report concerns about suspect second-hand vehicle dealers, or to lodge a complaint, contact CBS on 131 882, or visit www.cbs.gov.au.