Ronald Joseph Buttigieg pleaded guilty in a South Australian court to selling cars without a licence, despite the state’s rules that all second-hand vehicle dealers much be licensed to do so.
Mr Buttigieg advertised some of the cars for sale from a vacant block of land along a major highway. In total, he sold two cars and offered another 10 for sale within a 12-month period.
His partner, Louise Sampson, was also involved, selling four cars and buying another within 12 months.
The court determined that such activity went beyond that of “a simple ‘backyard’ dealer” and amounted to a commercial operation.
Mr Buttigieg received a $20,000 penalty, in part recognising an earlier conviction, again for operating a business without a licence. Ms Sampson was given a 12-month good behaviour bond.
According to the Commissioner for Consumer Affairs, Dini Soulio, the licensing system is in place to protect consumers from poor business practices.
“Buying from an unlicensed dealer just simply isn’t worth the risk,” he said.
“When you buy from a licensed second-hand vehicle dealer, your rights as a consumer are enshrined by law and you are entitled to certain protections.”
It comes after an unlicensed builder was fined for several instances of poor and incomplete work.