A motor vehicle dealer who sold on consignment has been disqualified from holding a licence for eight years, starting from 19 November 2020, after being convicted of deceiving owners about the sale price and failing to comply with laws relating to consignment sales.
The State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) endorsed the Commissioner for Consumer Protection’s view that Mr Zeljko Grujin, the former dealership manager working for PAG (WA) Pty Ltd trading as Xoticar in Como and now a sole trader operating as Xoticar Auction House in Welshpool, is not a fit and proper person to hold a licence due to his criminal convictions. Mr Grujin will be banned from working in the industry for eight years while PAG (WA) Pty Ltd was given an indefinite ban, having to apply to the SAT should it wish to operate again in the future.
In July 2018, PAG (WA) Pty Ltd trading as Xoticar lost its authority to engage in consignment sales following action taken by Consumer Protection, and a similar ban was placed on Mr Grujin in September 2018 while he was operating as Xoticar Auction House under a motor vehicle dealers’ licence.
In May 2019, both Mr Grujin and PAG (WA) Pty Ltd trading as Xoticar, were fined a total of $31,500 after being convicted of seven offences under the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA) and two offences under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).
The convictions related to:
- Failing to deposit consignment funds into a trust account no later than the next business day as required by the MVDA;
- Failing to pay consignment sale proceeds to vehicle owners within two business days as required by the MVDA;
- Making false or misleading representations to owners regarding the sale price of their vehicles in breach of the ACL.
Despite the 2018 bans, Mr Grujin continued to sell four vehicles on consignment and committed the same offences regarding failure to deposit funds into a trust account, pay the owners within two business days and misrepresent the sale price.
Mr Grujin’s disqualification will begin on 19 November 2020 and the SAT ordered he make all reasonable efforts to sell his business Xoticar Auction House by that date.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Lanie Chopping said Mr Grujin betrayed the trust of owners who, in good faith, had handed over their vehicles for sale.
“Mr Guijin, both as an employee of PAG and the principal operator of Xoticar Auction House, engaged in gross deception in order to maximise the profit on each of these consignment sales and also thumbed his nose at the laws that are designed to protect consumers in these vulnerable circumstances,” Ms Chopping said.
“The laws surrounding consignment sales in relation to the disclosure of the true sale price and the handling of the proceeds are in place to ensure that it is a transparent process.
“Mr Grujin, PAG (WA) Pty Ltd and Xoticar Auction House engaged in these deceptive practices not only once, but did it on many occasions knowing full well that they were breaking the law. Then, to make matters worse, they defied the ban on consignment sales by continuing their illegal behaviour.
“We hope that this SAT order is the final chapter in the Xoticar saga and Zeljko Grujin is no longer a threat to consumers in the future.”
Public statements regarding previous actions: