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Galway car trader receives 4 month suspended sentence

Galway car trader Kevin McGann, previously trading as KMM Motors, Claregalway Road, has been convicted of providing a consumer with false information in relation to a car. Today’s conviction follows an investigation by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC).

Mr McGann was given a four months sentence, which was suspended on the condition that a €7,405.85 compensation order was paid in the next six months to the consumer who bought the car. Mr McGann was also ordered to pay €9,500 to cover the CCPC’s full legal and investigation costs. This is the motor trader’s second conviction for a similar offence.

The CCPC opened an investigation following a complaint from a consumer that they had bought a crashed car, which had been imported from the United Kingdom, and were not told about its crash history and were also provided with false information regarding the existence of a warranty. The CCPC’s investigation sought to determine whether Mr. McGann had engaged in a misleading commercial practice, which is an offence under the Consumer Protection Act 2007.

McGann was previously convicted of a similar offence in 2008. Following an investigation by the National Consumer Agency (NCA), Mr. McGann, then trading as Kilgarve Cars, was convicted of providing false information in relation to a car’s mileage at Ballinasloe District Court. The prosecution taken by the DPP on behalf of the NCA for an offence in contravention of the Merchandise Marks Act 1887 as amended by the Consumer Information Act 1978

Commenting, Isolde Goggin, Chairperson of the CCPC said, “As recognised by Judge John King in his sentencing today, misleading a consumer about the history of a car is a very serious offence. Not only can it be costly but critically, it can be dangerous.

Consumers need to be able to rely on accurate information from car dealers in relation to a vehicle’s roadworthiness and its history, including mileage. Mr McGann’s conviction is a strong reminder to all car traders that if you mislead consumers or provide consumers with false information about the history of a car or inclusion of a warranty, you are liable to a criminal prosecution.

The CCPC has investigated and taken enforcement action against a number of traders in relation to the sale of clocked or crashed cars where such information was not disclosed to the consumer. Last year, we carried out a number of unannounced inspections at motor garages around Ireland which resulted in eight enforcement actions against traders who were in breach of consumer law. Over the coming months we will be conducting further unannounced inspections across the country and we will use our powers to challenge and take enforcement action against traders found to be misleading consumers.”

2018 Motor Sector Enforcement Action
A compliance notice is a written notice directing them to remedy the relevant contravention of consumer protection legislation.

Compliance Notices were served on the following car traders in 2018 for engaging in misleading commercial practices by providing false information in relation to the main characteristics of a motor vehicle:

• Ken Hogan Motors, Kilcolgan, Co. Galway 26 January 2018
• Michael Hughes, Palmerstown, Dublin 20 7 July 2018
• Greenhill Motors, Drogheda, Co. Louth 24 October 2018
• Jalal Khan, trading at Greenhill Motors, Drogheda, Co. Louth 24 October 2018

Following investigations by the CCPC, the following car dealers signed undertakings agreeing to refrain from engaging in misleading commercial practices:

• Pat O’Connell Cars, Ballysimon, Co. Limerick 13 September 2018
• Derek Delaney, North Circular Road, Dublin 7 18 October 2018
• Kylemore Cars, Naas Road, Dublin 12 13 November 2018
• Kieran McArdle, Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan 7 December 2018