A Dublin-based car dealer who pleaded guilty to misleading a consumer in relation to the history of a car has insisted the whole process was “nonsense” and that he did nothing wrong.
Ergus O’Donnell of Inclusive Car Sales, Park West Industrial Park, Dublin 12, received the benefit of the Probation Act after he entered the plea of guilty at Dublin’s District Court.
The outcome was the result of an extensive investigation by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC).
O’Donnell was subject to an investigation by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) following the sale of a 2010 Fiat 500 by his company.
Mr O’Donnell had purchased the car from the UK in May 2017 and imported it to Ireland in or around June 2017.
The car was bought on July 1, 2017 for €5,350.
Following the purchase of the car, the car broke down while the consumer was driving.
The consumer brought it to a mechanic who identified issues with the vehicle, namely problems with the power steering.
The CCPC claimed the ownership of the car had not been accurately advertised or disclosed and, in addition, the mileage of the vehicle was found to be understated by approximately five per cent.
The CCPC alleged that Mr O’Donnell had therefore committed or engaged in a misleading commercial practice as set out in section 43 of the Consumer Protection Act 2007 (CPA 2007).
“Under consumer protection law, it is an offense for traders to give false, misleading or deceptive information about the history of a car,” the CCPC said in a statement. “Unless otherwise stated, a motor trader should complete due diligence, including car history checks, before making a car available for sale to a consumer.
“Consumers should be told if the car was previously involved in a car crash, was recorded as an insurance ‘write off’, or displays the wrong mileage.
Úna Butler of the CCPC added: “Misleading a consumer is a very serious offense and traders who fail to provide complete and accurate information are liable to a criminal prosecution by the CCPC.
“The CCPC is and will continue to be very active in this sector. We encourage any consumer who believes that they have been misled by a motor trader, or indeed any trader, to contact us.”
Mr O’Donnell pleaded guilty at Dublin’s District Court and Judge Halpin applied the Probation Act. The court took into account that the trader had compensated the consumer fully and paid costs to the CCPC.
Speaking to sundayworld.com, Mr O’Donnell insisted he had “done nothing wrong” and described the price of the car at 5,350 euro as “push-bike money”.
“You’d pay that price for a good push bike,” he said. “She (the consumer) got a bargain. I did nothing wrong.
I think the judge was fair, but think it was a waste of taxpayers’ money.
“It was five years going through the courts. It was a waste of my time. In the end I gave a guilty plea and I only gave that from the point of view that my time was more important.
“I didn’t want to drag this down the road for another two years or whatever in order to put the matter to bed.
“I actually think it was a successful day. I consider it a victory. Because, if you look at it from my point of view, (with the time) being wasted between solicitors and courts.
“There was no conviction made,” he added. “I got the probation act, which is not a conviction and there was no penalty imposed.
“I’m 20 years selling cars and this is the first time I’ve been in court in 20 years.
“We started off in Park West and we’ve grown our business,” he added. “We’re doing really well. All in all, we’ve probably sold 10,000 cars.
“So this was nonsense, absolute nonsense. It was nit-picking, is what it was.”
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