$40,000 fine for high number of illegal backyard vehicle sales

WA Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety
  • 174 vehicles bought and 147 sold without a licence in about 12 months
  • Backyard operators robbing consumers of their rights
  • Public urged to report illegal operators to stamp out the practice
  • A sole director and his company have been fined a total of $40,000 for illegally buying and selling a high number of motor vehicles from his Stirling home without having a dealer’s licence.

    Jacob Hamilton was fined $15,000 and his company Hamilton Construction (WA) Pty Ltd was fined $25,000 by the Perth Magistrates Court on 13 May 2022. Both were ordered to pay costs of $268.58 each.

    From 1 April 2020 to 24 March 2021, Mr Hamilton bought 174 vehicles and sold 147, most via Gumtree, without having a licence in breach of the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act.

    In sentencing, Magistrate Stockdale noted that, if Mr Hamilton had a licence, it would have been a legal and profitable enterprise.

    Commissioner for Consumer Protection Gary Newcombe said that Mr Hamilton’s illegal dealing on such a large scale was totally unacceptable.

    “By dealing without a licence, Mr Hamilton was robbing both the buyers of his vehicles as well as legitimate licensed dealers operating in the marketplace,” Mr Newcombe said.

    “By buying a vehicle from a backyard seller, consumers do not have the same rights and protections as they do when buying from a licensed dealer.

    “Depending on the age and mileage of the vehicle, consumers may have a right to a warranty under the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act or a guarantee under the Australian Consumer Law. However, when buying privately or from an unlicensed dealer there are no such protections available.

    “Legitimate licensed dealers are also robbed of business by backyard operators who do not have to meet the costs of compliance with the law, such as paying licence fees and repairing vehicles under warranty.

    “We take a dim view of people in our community who turn buying and selling vehicles into a business but don’t bother getting a licence as the law requires. We urge the community to report any unlicensed motor vehicle dealing and help us in our quest to stamp out this illegal practice.”

    Consumers can check whether a motor vehicle dealer is licensed by doing a search on the Consumer Protection website

    /Public Release. View in full here.