The state’s consumer watchdog, Consumer and Business Services (CBS), will undertake a major investigation into unlicensed ‘backyard’ car dealers over the next four months.
Commissioner for Consumer Affairs, Dini Soulio, says CBS investigators and compliance officers will use information collected from various sources to detect and deal with unlicensed and dodgy dealers.
“The operation will focus on individuals selling more than four car cars in a 12-month period” Commissioner Soulio said.
“Buying a used car from an unlicensed dealer can be fraught with risks - there is no cooling-off period, no warranty and no guarantee that the car is free of problems.
“Vehicles are an expensive purchase and we want to ensure both consumers and licensed traders are protected. We don’t want to see the actions of dodgy dealers tarnish the reputation of the vehicle sales industry.
Motor Trade Association Chief Executive Officer Paul Unerkov has welcomed the major investigation announcement from CBS.
“The MTA has and continues to ensure that consumers are protected when purchasing vehicles through our Members and is pleased that CBS will be undertaking a major investigation to crack down on backyarders,” Mr Unerkov said.
“Members of the MTA not only meet their legal requirements including cooling-off periods, warranties against defects and other guarantees, they also adhere to our strict Code of Conduct giving consumers even more confidence in purchasing a second- hand vehicle,” he said.
The operation will include investigators conducting unannounced inspections and face- to-face interviews with the identified unlicensed ‘backyard dealers’.
“CBS will continue to monitor the conduct of any backyard dealers detected during the targeted operation, running from September to December 2014, and outcomes of the operation will be released at its conclusion,” Mr Soulio said.
“Unlicensed traders face penalties of up to $100,000.”
If consumers have any concerns about their interactions with unlicensed second-hand car dealers they are encouraged to contact the CBS on 131 882.
Consumers can check if a dealer is licensed 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 www.ppsr.gov.au.