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Consumer & Business Advice
Media releases
29 November 2013

The State’s consumer watchdog successfully prosecuted a western suburbs man for winding back a car’s odometer.

Yesterday, Rocco Mark Scarfo was convicted in the Adelaide Magistrates Court for interfering with the odometer on a second-hand vehicle by lowering the mileage displayed prior to trading in the vehicle.

CBS brought the charges after Scarfo bought the 2006 Holden Statesman in September 2011 with 125,091 kms on the clock, but when he traded it in the following month, the odometer read just 48,150 kms.

Commissioner for Consumer Affairs, Paul White said his dubious behaviour was a premeditated violation of the Second-hand Vehicles Dealers Act.

“In October 2011, Scarfo traded his vehicle to a car dealership located on Port Road. He certified an incorrect mileage reading, which resulted in the dealer suffering a loss by paying an inflated price for the vehicle,” the Commissioner said.

“Scarfo was convicted of the offence and fined $3,500. He was also ordered to pay $3,373 compensation to the dealership.”

Under South Australian law, a person must not interfere with the odometer of a second- hand vehicle without the written approval of the Commissioner.

“At no time did Scarfo have my approval to alter the reading or replace the odometer of the vehicle,” Commissioner White said.

“Odometer readings are a significant factor for consumers when making a decision to purchase a second-hand vehicle and consumers are entitled to feel confident that the reading is accurate.

“Tampering can result in significant safety issues for consumers.

“Necessary safety checks, services and repairs may not be undertaken at the required times creating very real dangers to drivers of the vehicle, passengers and other road users.

“Odometer tampering prior to selling or trading in a vehicle is deceptive behaviour and neither second-hand vehicle dealers nor consumers should be subject to such unlawful conduct.

“This prosecution serves as a warning that unlawfully interfering with the odometer of second-hand vehicles in South Australia will not be tolerated.”

The maximum penalty for unlawful tampering of an odometer is $10,000.

For information and advice on purchasing a second-hand vehicle, or trading with a second- hand vehicle dealer, visit www.cbs.sa.gov.au or call 131 882.