An Oakland auto dealer was fined $ 67,500 for advertising vehicles for sale “as is and where it is”, after many buyers were left with hefty repair bills.
In a decision released on Monday, the Trade Commission said that BNZ JP Euro misrepresented consumers’ rights under the Consumer Guarantees Act.
She had previously pleaded guilty to six representative charges under the Fair Trade Act, most of which related to the sale of 77 used cars between August 2017 and December 2018.
BNZ JP Euro operates a car and truck wrecker company that sells auto parts in Papakura.
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At the time of the infraction, it was also selling low-priced used cars, which were advertised on Facebook.
BNZ JP Euro offered vehicles for sale on an “as is” basis and required buyers to sign an agreement stating that there was no “implied or implied warranty”.
Commission Chairperson Anna Rawlings said the statements indicate that consumers have no rights if something goes wrong with the car, while the Consumer Guarantees Act actually applies to used cars.
“Traders cannot evade their responsibilities in providing guarantees and compensation under the International Trade Law by using phrases such as“ as is and where is ”.
“When consumers buy cars from dealers, rather than private sellers, the purchase will always be covered by statutory guarantees, including that the vehicle is of acceptable quality and conforms to its description.”
Any attempt by merchants to mislead consumers about their rights is likely to violate the Fair Trade Act.
Rawlings said the dealer’s behavior had real effects on his customers, some of whom felt they had no compensation for defective vehicles and that it was the problems they had to deal with on their own.
“In four cases that we know of, consumers bought vehicles that required major repairs. In at least two of these cases, the cost was roughly the same as the purchase price of the car itself.”
BNZ JP Euro has also not provided Consumer Information Notices (CINs) with the vehicles it sells.
Notices include information such as vehicle age, mileage, and any security interest on the vehicle and must be shown on all used vehicles sold by a used car dealer.
The company pleaded guilty to one representative charge related to CINs not displaying 16 vehicles sold between October and December 2018. It is only an infringement crime and cannot be convicted.
The Trade Commission has taken a number of similar trials in recent years.
In July 2019, 2Cheap Cars Limited was fined $ 438,000 Including the use of “Waiver of Guarantee” documents.
Retailer Noelle Liming was fined $ 200,000 In December 2018 to mislead consumers about their rights under the Social Security Act.
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