THE man dubbed the Gold Coast’s dodgiest car dealer has been jailed and ordered to pay almost $40,000 in fines after being charged by the Office of Fair Trading for the second time.
Paul David Smith was found guilty on four counts of making false and misleading representations under the Australian Consumer Law in Southport Magistrates Court on Friday.
The court heard that between January 2013 and February 2014, Mr Smith, while unlicensed, sold seven vehicles to consumers via car sales websites under various names.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
Mr Smith also misrepresented the history of vehicles on two occasions by failing to disclose their previous status as write-offs, and twice claimed a false affiliation with vehicle manufacturers.
The offences were detected by the Office of Fair Trading during a targeted compliance operation against unlicensed motor dealers, using, amongst other things, sales activity records from car sales websites.
It is not the first time Mr Smith has been found guilty of dodgy dealings.
In 2011 he was convicted of unlicensed motor dealing and odometer tampering, with the court ordering personal and company fines totalling $169,250.
During his sentencing on Friday, the court considered Mr Smith’s intent to deceive consumers for his own gain, his previous conviction for similar offences and his failure to cooperate with the OFT’s investigation.
He was fined $20,000 and made to pay Costs of $17,172, all of which was ordered to be paid within six months, with six months imprisonment in default.
Convictions were recorded on all counts.
Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer, in welcoming the Court’s decision, renewed the OFT’s previous warning not to deal with Mr Smith upon his release.
“Mr Smith had shown a continuing and blatant disregard for the law. He clearly had no regard for consumer safety or well-being as he knowingly sold vehicles that were potentially unsafe,” Mr Bauer said.
“Obscuring the true age, history or condition of a vehicle leaves consumers in danger of driving an unsafe vehicle because they will be unaware of the need for pre-purchase inspections, more regular maintenance and thorough servicing.
“The OFT takes these kinds of offences very seriously and will continue to monitor the motor industry and take action against unlicensed dealers.”