A CAR dealer convicted of misleading a buyer about a car’s accident history says ‘they really must have f***ed everything else to do’.
Eath-based car dealer Anthony Behan pleaded guilty to the offense in Dublin District Court last Friday following an investigation by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.
But speaking to The Sunday World this week, he described the investigation and prosecution as a ‘waste of taxpayers’ money’.
Mr Behan, of Somerville, Ratoath, was sued over a 2008 Mini he sold to a customer through Donedeal on September 25, 2016.
The court heard that when he sold the vehicle he told the customer that the vehicle had never been in an accident, but when he developed faults the following year they discovered that he had been involved in an accident.
The court was told that the client contacted Mr Behan after the discovery but received no satisfaction.
The CCPC launched an investigation and also discovered that the car had been timed. Mr Behan was initially charged with four offences, but by the time his case went to court he was only charged with misleading a consumer regarding the accident history of a car.
While he pleaded guilty to the offence, Mr Behan told the Sunday World and in court he was unaware of the car’s accident history as it was not registered on the engine check website that details vehicle history.
Judge Halpin said the defendant “should have had the car examined by a mechanic and could have done a little more” to help the consumer. He was fined €500.
Mr Behan told The Sunday World this week he believed the lawsuits were unjustified and had damaged his reputation.
“It’s horrible what they’ve done to me for the last five or six years,” he said. He said he would have been happy to return the money to his client after the SPCC intervened and feels he should not have gone to court as it was a waste of money.
“They’re after a conviction. They want a conviction. The trouble they’re putting drug dealers in trouble and criminalizing people and everything.
“It’s a government agency, CCPC, and it’s a waste of taxpayers’ money and everything,” he said.
Mr Behan said he did not lie about the accident history as he was unaware the vehicle had been in an accident.
“It crashed in Ireland before I bought it. I bought it from a guy at a private sale. I was a private person buying the car myself.
“They never went back to find out who sold it. Because I was an independent dealership selling cars to a consumer, CCPC sued me.”
He said he was not a rogue trafficker, but people will think he is following the conviction.
“I don’t need to fix damaged cars and sell them to the consumer and try to steal them. If I had criminal convictions the length of my arm or if I was tarnished, but no [I don’t].
“I sell 400 or 500 cars a year. One of them crossed the fucking gap and all of a sudden someone wants to talk about it.
“No problem, take the fucking letter home and say, listen, you’re going to court, so reimburse the client, no problem, go ahead. They don’t even go that far.”
He added that the car passed the NCT twice despite being in an accident.
“I still end up in court for this. In order for them to even examine the car, the rear bumper had to come off so they knew it had crashed.
“Do I go around all these cars here now and take the bumpers off?”
Mr Behan said he was annoyed when his home was raided by the CCPC as part of the investigation.
“They got a warrant to search my house for proof of sale. I never denied selling the car. Of course I sold it.
“CCPC came in with a guard and everything.
“To say it’s awful is an understatement. They said they were looking for evidence that I sold the Mini. I told them I don’t deny that I sold the car, so what are you looking for They were looking for some kind of document.
Mr Behan said he only bought the car a few months after his accident.
“I didn’t own it [at the time of the crash] but they only understood it afterwards. They must really have f*** everything else to do.”
He said he believed the CCPC suspected he knew the car crashed and fixed it himself, but later found out it wasn’t. not the case.
“The CCPC tried to tell me that I had fixed it, but they found out that I hadn’t.”
He said he was also unaware that the car had been timed.
“He was timed but they dropped that call-up. When he arrived from the UK in 2014, it was not on the data system that he was timed.” He said it wasn’t like he was a member of a “cartel”.
“I’m an ordinary person making a living,” he said. “I raised my hand and I apologize. I’m not a bad person.”
Commenting on the case, CCPC’s Úna Butler said: “Misleading a consumer is a very serious offense and merchants who do not provide complete and accurate information are subject to criminal prosecution by the CCPC.
“When buying a car, consumers should be able to trust accurate information from car dealers about a car’s MOT and accident history. The CCPC is and will continue to be very active in this sector.
“We encourage any consumer who feels they have been misled by an auto trader, indeed any trader, to contact us.”
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