Tougher penalties for dodgy car sellers to protect consumers

15 May, 2024

South Australia will soon have the strongest penalties in the nation for dodgy used car dealers found doing the wrong thing, thanks to a new state government bill welcomed by RAA.

The new bill increases the maximum penalty for winding back an odometer from $10,000 to $150,000 for a first or second offence and/or up to two years imprisonment for a third or subsequent offence.

South Australia will lead the nation with the toughest penalties for odometer tampering. Penalties in other jurisdictions are significantly lower, ranging from $17,600 to $50,000.
The State Government is also increasing the penalty for unlicensed dealing from $100,000 to $150,000 for a first or second offence.

Odometer tampering will attract a more severe penalty

The changes were prompted by an increase in complaints to Government about unlicensed selling and odometer tampering from second-hand car buyers.

RAA Mobility Expert Mark Borlace said the tougher penalties would help protect unsuspecting consumers.

“RAA welcomes these tougher penalties for dealers and unlicensed dealers who are trying to rip off South Australian car buyers,” Mr Borlace said.

“At a time when rising cost-of-living is hitting households, the last thing they need is to be exposed to dodgy practices that could cost them thousands of dollars in future repairs.

“The odometer is a vital tool to help prospective buyers gauge how much life is left in a used car, so tampering with it should attract a severe penalty.

“We thank the State Government for its collaboration with all groups that are affected by these changes to deliver a fair outcome for consumers.”

Minister for Consumer Affairs Andrea Michaels MP said, “We now have the strongest penalties in Australia for second-hand car dealers who do the wrong thing.
“For the first time, anyone caught winding back an odometer will face jail time or a fine of up to $150,000 along with longer sentences and higher fines for unlicensed dealing.”
The changes also include doubling the potential jail time for third or subsequent offences from one year to two years in prison and raising the fine from $100,000 to $250,000.
For body corporates, it would increase to $500,000.