Motor dealers in New South Wales caught tampering with odometer readings will soon face tougher penalties.
Fines will double to $22,000 as part of a host of changes to existing legislation. The NSW Government has also announced new rules requiring greater transparency from dealers.
The Motor Dealers Act 1974 and the Motor Vehicle Repairs Act 1980 will be merged under the new legislation, known as the Motor Dealers And Repairers Act 2013.
The changes were first introduced into parliament last year, and will come into effect from December 1.
NSW Fair Trading Minister, Matthew Mason-Cox, said offenders under the new rules could find themselves on a public 'name and shame' register.
“Odometer readings are one of the major factors consumers look at when buying a used car," Mr Mason-Cox said.
“A new public name and shame register will also be established to allow consumers to check if a dealer or repairer has a current licence and whether they have had disciplinary action or offences recorded against them."
Mr Mason-Cox said the public register combined with higher fines with give motor traders a "strong incentive" to comply with the law.
Aside from tougher penalties for odometer tampering, the new legislation also requires dealers to disclose more information about their stock.
Major modifications, previous collision, hail or flood damage and known changes to the odometer reading will all need to be disclosed to potential buyers.
Fair Trading inspectors will have greater power under the changes, able to issue orders to licenced dealers and repairers to fix faults without a consumer having to take legal action.
Responding to calls that urgent reform regarding insurers and smash repairers in NSW has been ‘delayed’, Mr Mason-Cox said the NSW Government would respond at “the earliest opportunity”.
A summary of the changes under the new Act can be found below.
CHANGES UNDER MOTOR DEALERS AND REPAIRERS ACT 2013
- Penalties for odometer tampering doubled from $11,000 to $22,000
- The Motor Dealers Compensation Fund to be combined with a Repairers Fund with limits on claims increased from $30,000 to $40,000
- Jurisdictional limit for a used vehicle dispute in the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) increased from $30,000 to $40,000
- Fair Trading inspectors able to issue orders to a licensed dealer or repairer to fix faults without the consumer having to resort to legal action
- Business licence categories reduced from 22 to just three
- Licence exemptions allowed for simple repair work that does not impact on vehicle safety, such as fitting basic accessories, including windscreen wipers and roof racks
- Choice of a three year or annual licence to allow businesses to choose the renewal option that suits them best