Major online auction company sells 750 Aussies fake or faulty cars

Major online auction company sells 750 Aussies fake or faulty cars

A major online auction business could face a $10 million penalty for misleading descriptions on cars for sale that left 750 Australians with fake or faulty vehicles.

After the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) initiated legal action against Grays eCommerce Group, the company admitted in federal court to misleading or deceptive conduct and making false or misleading representations between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2022 about the details of cars offered for sale.

The descriptions of the cars sometimes included the wrong manufacturing year or transmission, listed features the actual car did not have and failed to mention obvious faults.

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ACCC Commissioner Liza Carver said at least 750 customers had bought an incorrectly-described car.

“As a result, hundreds of consumers may have bought a car they would not otherwise have purchased, or may have paid more than they would have, had they known the correct details,” she said. 

The watchdog claims customers had to invest significant time and energy in convincing Grays to provide a remedy and were made to wait months for a resolution.

Some customers even paid to repair the vehicle that was incorrectly described or re-sold it at a loss.

”The purchase of a car is often a significant financial decision. Consumers rely on their car to get them to work, school or other commitments and they should be able to rely on the description in the auction listing to be correct,” Carver said.

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Grays has agreed to join the ACCC in making submisisons to the court about whether it should pay a $10 million penalty for the admitted breaches of the law.

The ecommerce company has already contacted some affected customers to offer a remedy and accepted an undertaking the provide redress to all affected customers.

The undertaking will commence once final orders are made by the court. 

Grays has been contacted for comment. 

Scam warning 

Criminals are attempting to take advantage of Grays customers who were sold misleading car listings, the ACCC has warned.

Customers are warned to be alert of scammers pretending to make contact on behalf of Grays to facilitate a refund.

Those who have questions about eligibility for redress should contact Grays directly.

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