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27 March 2019

An Adelaide duo who bought cars from interstate auctions and sold them under false pretences have been fined a total of more than $24,000 and ordered to repay nearly $4000 to consumers for numerous breaches of South Australia’s second-hand vehicle dealer laws.

In the Adelaide Magistrates Court 31-year old Luke Lorraine and 27-year old Semir Jasic admitted to carrying on business as a dealer without a licence and a number of related charges.

Jasic also pleaded guilty to making false and misleading statements regarding the history or previous use of a motor vehicle.

The court heard the duo would buy cars at interstate auctions – often changing the registration plates - and passing the cars off as their own personal vehicles or that of a relative’s for sale on sites like Gumtree and Facebook.

In some instances, the duo would wind back the odometer readings on the cars to falsely inflate the value of the vehicles.

The court was told that, in one instance, Lorraine arranged a third party to wind a car’s odometer back from 376,900 kilometres to around 168,000 before it was sold.

When the car’s new owner discovered the odometer had been wound back, Lorraine agreed to refund the purchase price, before changing the car’s registration number and re-listing it for sale on Gumtree.

The court heard the car’s second buyer had to spend nearly $3000 on repairs.

In a second case, Jasic sold a Nissan Pathfinder with an odometer reading of 109,000 kilometres, when the buyers discovered the car’s air filter had been replaced at 275,000.

When confronted, Jasic told the buyers that it was a “mixup”, claiming a mechanic had used secondhand parts to repair the vehicle, before offering to reimburse them $15,850 - $1000 less than they had paid for it.

Jasic then readvertised the car on Gumtree claiming the car had primarily been used as a “city vehicle”, with an odometer reading of 117,000 and selling it for $17,500.

Chief Magistrate Mary-Louise Hribal said the duo set out to mislead the public, and that - if the purchasers had known - they would never have paid these prices for the vehicles.

Commissioner for Consumer Affairs Dini Soulio said the penalty highlighted the serious nature of the offending.

“Luke Lorraine and Semir Jasic lied to their victims about the cars they were selling and took significant steps to try and conceal the history of these cars,” he said.

“When they were caught out, they’d simply refund the money, rebrand the car and then try again.

“It’s blatantly dishonest conduct that represents a gross breach of trust to consumers.”

Lorraine was fined $11,900 and ordered to repay $2593.77, while Jasic was fined $14,000 and ordered to repay $1200.

If you have concerns about either the conduct of a licensed dealer or a private sale, contact CBS for advice on 131 882.