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Timaru car dealer fined $8,000 over damaged BMW

Media Release

Issued 4 September 2006/035

Timaru car dealer fined $8,000 over damaged BMW

Timaru car dealer Lincoln Darren, of Mike Darren Motors, has pleaded guilty to breaching the Fair Trading Act and been fined $8,000 in the Timaru District Court.

The Court found that Mr Darren sold a BMW318i as undamaged, despite knowing the car was damaged when he imported it. He had been required to make repairs to it after a border inspection identified it as having structural damage.

Mr Darren was fined $3,000 for failing to display a Supplier Information Notice on the vehicle and fined $5,000 for misrepresenting the vehicle’s history by ticking the “no” box on the Supplier Information Notice when it asked whether the car had been imported as damaged.

Commerce Commission Director of Fair Trading Deborah Battell said that Supplier Information Notices were introduced to ensure that car buyers know exactly what they are buying.

“Accurate information is crucial when making a decision about buying a car,” Ms Battell said.

“This case clearly demonstrates that a car’s crash history does affect its market value and the ability to resell it.
“A buyer has a right to know about a car’s history, and to get the full range of information found on a Supplier Information Notice.”

Ms Battell said that car buyers needed to look for SIN cards when buying a car as it was illegal for cars to be sold without the Supplier Information Notice being clearly displayed.

Background

In March 2003, Lincoln Darren imported a 2000 BMW318i vehicle from Japan. A MAF inspection found it had been in an accident and referred it to the Land Transport Safety Authority, which required repairs to be made before the car could be registered. The repairs required were to the front bumper, front support beam and radiator.

After driving the car himself for several months, Mr Darren sold the BMW for $27,000. When the new owner tried to trade it in, a BMW dealer told her that the car had been damaged. She took the matter to the Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal and was refunded the price she had paid, less depreciation and use.

In sentencing Mr Darren, Judge Callaghan said: "The complainant has been compensated for the loss but has had hours and hours of mental anguish which she can't be compensated for."

ENDS

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