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Car buyers protected in twin city swoop
Inspectors from two states recently targeted the twin cities of Albury and Wodonga to make sure car dealers meet high levels of compliance to protect local car buyers.
The two day operation involving NSW Fair Trading and Consumer Affairs Victoria started in Wodonga on 13 February and travelled to Albury on 14 February. Inspectors visited 40 licensed motor vehicle traders to ensure they understood the legal requirements that apply in the dealership's respective state.
There were no major compliance issues found among the dealerships visited in either city.
However, at least half the dealerships failed to meet certain administrative compliance requirements such as updating staff records and forms in a timely manner.
NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe said inspectors would return to Albury shortly to ensure all dealers have made the required changes to comply with the Motor Dealers Act 1974 and the Motor Dealers Regulation 2010.
"Industry education is a priority for NSW Fair Trading with our reinspection programs invariably resulting in 100 per cent compliance," he said.
"In 2012 more than 1200 compliance inspections of car dealerships were carried out and all non-compliant traders were followed up with a reinspection."
Acting Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria Phil D'Adamo said most licensed motor car dealers were doing the right thing but visits like this were important to clarify any uncertainties and also monitor for illegal unlicensed trading.
"Consumers across the twin cities need to feel confident that when they are buying a car, they receive all the rights and protections that come with dealing with a licensed trader," Mr D'Adamo said.
Over the two days 10 inspectors formed teams of two to make the education and compliance visits.
A meeting of the region's car dealers and motor traders was also held by NSW Fair Trading and Consumer Affairs Victoria on Thursday evening.
In NSW, motor car dealers are regulated under the Motor Dealers Act 1974 that requires businesses and individuals who are involved in buying, selling, dismantling or exchanging new or second hand motor vehicles to be licensed.
Dealers are also required to keep records of all motor vehicles acquired and/or disposed of. In NSW under the Motor Dealers Act, and in Victoria under the Motor Car Traders Act 1986, anyone who offers to buy, sell or exchange four or more cars in 12 months is deemed to be a motor car trader, and may need to be licensed.
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Inspection of Minchinbury motor dealers
A joint compliance program utilising the resources of NSW Fair Trading, Roads & Maritime Services and NSW Police was recently conducted in Minchinbury.
The program resulted from the high number of complaints received by Fair Trading against motor dealers in the 2770 postcode including Minchinbury. Since 1 July 2010, 264 consumer complaints were received in the area.
Five motor dealers were inspected with 167 breaches of the Motor Dealers Act 1974 being detected across all five dealerships. Roads & Maritime Services officers defected 18 vehicles which were being offered for sale.
Fair Trading issued 58 penalty notices resulting from the inspections and are conducting further enquiries in relation to two of the dealers inspected.
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My next car app
My next car is a free app from NSW Fair Trading that helps consumers choose their next car. The user can:
- record details of cars they are interested in
- use inspection checklist to identify record and take a photo of any problems
- compare loans
- look up tips and advice.
My next car is available from the App Store and Google Play.
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Update on review of the Motor Dealers Act and the Motor Vehicle Repairs Act
In April 2012, the Minister released an issues paper which commenced a review of the Fair Trading regulation of motor vehicles including the Motor Dealers Act 1974 and the Motor Vehicle Repairs Act 1980.
The issues paper focused on several key themes including combining the two Acts into a single Act with upfront aims and objectives; ensuring consistency between the motor industry legislation and the national Australian Consumer Law; and proposals to increase consumer protection in the industry.
The review received over 35 submissions and the Minister organised several consultative roundtables on some of the major issues with key stakeholders throughout September and October 2012.
It is expected that a Draft Bill will be developed in 2013. The Minister has asked that there is an opportunity for all stakeholder and interested parties to see the Draft Bill and have their say prior to any legislation being introduced into Parliament.
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$10,890 in fines for Dubbo Car dealers
Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe said the results of recent Fair Trading compliance checks in Dubbo showed motor vehicle dealers needed to brush up on their knowledge of the legal requirements of running a business.
Of the 18 dealers visited in the Dubbo area, compliance breaches were uncovered in two thirds of businesses, ranging from failure to hold the relevant licence to falsely stating the year of a vehicle's manufacture.
In total 122 breaches were found, 33 of which attracted penalties totaling $10,890.
Fair Trading inspectors also visited 34 motor vehicle repairers in the district, finding compliance breaches in 15.
Two businesses were fined $330 each for permitting an employee to carry out repairs on a car without holding the relevant trade certificate. A subsequent re-inspection of all the cautioned motor vehicle workshops found a 100 per cent compliance rate.
More information on licensing and record keeping requirements for motor dealers, auto dismantlers and motor vehicle repairers can found on the Fair Trading website.
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My Place programs
Fair Trading will continue to present to motor dealers and motor vehicle repairers as part of all MyPlace programs in 2013. Seminars conducted in 2012 were well received by the industry with over 500 dealers or repairers attending.
Inspections will also be conducted in 2013 to confirm compliance levels and provide information to the industry on the role of Fair Trading and legislative requirements.
MyPlace Programs scheduled for the first half of 2013 include:
- 4 to 8 March - Ballina
- 2 to 5 April - Blue Mountains
- 8 to 12 April - Armidale
- 13 to 17 May - Gilgandra/Coonamble
- 3 to 7 June - Parramatta/Holroyd
- 10 to 14 June - Port Macquarie.
If you have suggestions on topics or information that you would like covered during Fair Tradings seminars in 2013 please send to firstname.lastname@example.org
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