Timmy Keane, 61, of Harold’s Cross Cottages, Dublin, had denied selling a 2008 Volkswagen Passat with an odometer reading 60,000km less than it should have been in April 2012 and again in June that year.
Dublin District Court was told – in a prosecution brought by the National Consumer Agency – that the Passat’s engine ‘blew up’ after it was sold to the second buyer.
Joe Conlon, the initial customer, had paid Keane at the family-run VK Motors Ltd €13,500 for the car. When he had problems getting the Passat’s service history and log book he got in touch with another dealer that had sold the car before, leading him to proof that the car had been ‘clocked’. He was subsequently given a full refund by an Ian Marshall at VK Motors.
It was revealed in court that there was 171,000km on the Passat’s clock when the car was sold in March 2012 to VK Motors Ltd’s supplier.
When the second customer, Umut Ertanaglu, bought the car in June 2012, the odometer had a reading of 113,256km. The car’s engine then ‘blew up’ soon afterwards but when he returned to VK Motors Marshall verbally abused him.
In his defence evidence, Keane claimed that he wasn’t responsible for stocking cars at the business nor was he aware that the odometer had been tampered with.
He added that he had been ill, just worked at the business on alternate days, and that the dealership wasn’t under his control any more.
However, Judge John O’Neill convicted Keane of breaching the Consumer Protection Act, saying dealers were “pretty sharp and they know their cars no matter how many cars are in their yards”, according to a report on Sundayworld.com.
He fined Keane €500 and ordered him to pay the NCA’s costs of €2,500 plus €7,000 damages to Mr Ertanaglu. He also warned Keane he would be jailed for a fortnight if the money wasn’t handed over within three months.