Used car dealer gets heavy fines for ‘clocking’ car

A used car dealer from Dublin has been ordered to pay up nearly £10,000 for selling a ‘clocked car’, with jail time threatened if the payments aren’t made promptly.

Timmy Keane, 61, has been found guilty of selling a 2008 Volkswagen Passat that he altered the odometer of to read 60,000 kilometres less than it should have, Car Dealer Magazine has reported. The case came to light after the vehicle’s engine blew up shortly after it was sold to a second buyer in June 2012.

As this story illustrates, attempting to deceive buyers to get a better price on a used car is an extremely risky business that rarely pays off. But so too is it a substantial risk for used car dealerships to not be honest when acquiring motor trade insurance; to get the best deal that will cover all possible threats to the business a firm must be transparent and honest about its practices and the vehicles it owns.

According to a report on Sundayworld.com, Dublin District Court heard that Mr Keane of family-run VK Motors Ltd had first sold the car to Joe Conlon for €13,500 (£11,200) in April 2012. Once the car experienced problems the driver contacted an earlier seller and found that the car had been clocked – it was revealed that there was 171,000 kilometres on the clock when the car was sold to VK Motors’ supplier in March 2012 but only 113,256 kilometres when it was sold on to him.

VK Motors gave Mr Conlon a full refund but the same dealership sold the car again two months later to Umut Ertanaglu. The car’s engine blew up soon afterwards but when Mr Ertanaglu went back to the dealership he was verbally abused.

The court fined Keane €500 and ordered him to pay the costs of €2,500 plus €7,000 damages to Mr Ertanaglu. The court also warned Keane he would be jailed for a fortnight if the money was not handed over within three months.