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Friday 5 September 2014

14-224MR Car dealer issued with $42,500 infringement notice and agrees to refund consumers a further $36,250

Betar Prestige Cars Pty Ltd, trading as Audi Centre Parramatta (ACP), a car dealership in Parramatta, New South Wales, has been issued with a $42,500 infringement notice.

The infringement notice relates to conduct that ACP engaged in when it did not hold an Australian credit licence.

ACP will also refund 49 consumers a total of $36,250. The refund is a result of consumers paying between $300 and $750 in dealer administration fees.

ACP does not hold an Australian credit licence and operates under an exemption, like many car dealerships, commonly known as the ‘point of sale’ exemption (POS exemption). The POS exemption allows a car dealership to provide assistance to consumers to obtain finance from licensed credit providers. The proceeds of the finance can only be used to pay for goods and services supplied by the dealership.

ASIC found that between May 2011 and August 2013, Audi Centre Parramatta assisted 75 consumers to obtain finance for cars that were not being supplied by their dealership or for refinancing of existing car loans.

Deputy Chairman Peter Kell said, ‘Licensing exemptions must be used lawfully. Where industry participants seek to bend the rules, they will be penalised'.

The payment of an infringement notice is not an admission of a contravention of the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (National Credit Act). ASIC can issue an infringement notice where it has reasonable grounds to believe a person has contravened certain provisions of the National Credit Act.

ASIC has agreed to accept instalment payments from ACP to pay the infringement notice penalty. Refunds to consumers will also be made over a similar 10-week period.