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Dermot Nottingham Is Dermot Nottingham connected to Lauda Finem?

#21 User is offline   Deus ex machina 

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 09:31 PM

View PostFrom 03 January 2012 - 12:58 PM:



a minimum of 3 computer in the office, and also 2 cellphones all internet capable!

why is Dermott Notttigham on Laudafinums youtube site?


scan and delete all temp files, and use your inprivate web browser...


That is wise advice, because Nottingham caused enough concern that ACC refused to deal with him due to concerns for staff and claimant safety. Television show Fairgo established that Nottingham and Advantage Advocacy (a company closely linked to Re/Max Advantage's Earle McKinney) did not provide the services that one claimant paid for. When challenged by the claimant Dermot Nottingham became rude and aggressive, this is not the behaviour of a fit and proper person.


Quote

19 January 2006

Response to Fair Go media queries on advocate Dermot Nottingham

You have posed the following questions about Auckland advocate Dermot Nottingham:
� what can ACC say about his current status with our organisation;
� if there has been a change recently, what was that and why;
� how does Mr Nottingham�s current status compare to that of other advocates working in �this area�; and
� if someone approaches ACC over a review, with Mr Nottingham as their advocate, what does ACC say to this person.

1. Mr Nottingham�s current status with ACC
ACC does not recognise Mr Nottingham when he purports to be acting as an advocate for claimants in their dealings with ACC.
2. Whether there was a recent change in Mr Nottingham�s status, what it was, and why
In May 2004, ACC sent a form letter (see Appendix for the full text) to the claimants we were able to identify at that time as being personal injury clients of Mr Nottingham, advising �ACC�s General Manager for the branch network has determined that ACC will no longer recognise Mr Nottingham in the role as advocate for ACC claimants...�

3. How Mr Nottingham�s current status compares with that of other advocates working in this area
Withdrawing recognition of Mr Nottingham as an advocate for ACC claimants was a most unusual step for ACC to take. It arose because after considerable endeavours over an extensive period of time, ACC found that Mr Nottingham was unable to work constructively with us. The terms under which ACC would continue to work with Mr Nottingham were advised to him in writing. He declined to meet the conditions set by ACC, indeed there has been no change in his behaviour or his approach to ACC. ACC decided not to work with him in the interests of the safety of staff and claimants, and the need to assist claimants to move through rehabilitation to independence.
DRSL at this point had not declined to work with Mr Nottingham. DRSL operates independently from ACC and makes its own determinations about the acceptability of individual advocates.
Mr Nottingham should have been aware from early May 2004 that he would not be recognised by ACC as an advocate for claimants. That remains the position today.


4.What ACC tells them if someone indicates to ACC that they have engaged Mr Dermot Nottingham as their claimant advocate
The form letter in Appendix A, appropriately modified with the current date, would be sent to the claimant.




Simon Calvert
ACC Corporate Affairs team manager
DDI 04 918 7884 MOB 0274 470 255 FAX 04 918 7636
Email [email protected]



Appendix:

Letter to claimant re advocate status

Claim Number:
3 May 2004
[Claimant identity and address withheld]


Dear [Claimant identity withheld],
This letter is to set out a change in the way that ACC will be working with you in relation to your claim in the future. This concerns your choice of advocate in your dealings with ACC. I note that Dermot Nottingham has been your chosen advocate, and ACC has a current authority for him to act on your behalf.
I wish to advise you that ACC�s General Manager for the branch network has determined that ACC will no longer recognise Mr Nottingham in the role of advocate for ACC claimants. This means you will have to select an alternative advocate or support person in your dealings with ACC. The reasons for this change have been communicated directly to Mr Nottingham.
This notification will not affect the management of your claim and your right to access rehabilitation and entitlements. Your rights under the Code of ACC Claimants Rights are fully preserved. Furthermore I wish to encourage you to select an alternative advocate or support person who can work with you [sic] your relationship with ACC. It can be helpful to have a suitable support person and ACC recognises this.
Please telephone me should you have any further questions or comments regarding this letter.

Yours sincerely
[Name withheld]
Branch Manager [Branch withheld]
Please quote the claim number
19 January 2006

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#22 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 07:41 PM

http://www.nzherald....bjectid=3530068

Campaigner who filmed judge receives harassment warning


By Stuart Dye
5:00 AM Wednesday Oct 22, 2003


By STUART DYE

A self-styled justice campaigner faces possible legal action for harassment after following and videotaping a High Court judge.

Dermot Nottingham
could also face contempt of court charges for publishing on a website comments relating to his ongoing court case.

Justice Tony Randerson was fined $150 after he crossed the centreline while driving his car home to an Auckland suburb.

Mr Nottingham,
who was tailing the judge, recorded the incident and gave the tape to police with a formal complaint.

He has published the video and photos on his website, which he says is dedicated to fighting injustice.


But the Aucklander, who has campaigned against odometer fraud, has been told by the Solicitor-General, Terence Arnold, QC, that he will be charged if his crusade continues.

"I am concerned by this conduct, to the extent that I am considering commencing proceedings against you for contempt of court," he wrote to Mr Nottingham.

"I also consider that your actions in contacting and carrying out surveillance of judges may amount to harassment."

Mr Nottingham
has said there is "no way" Mr Arnold will prosecute.

It was not harassment, he said, because he had been following Justice Randerson as part of an investigation to support his claim that the judge should not have handled an odometer-tampering case.

Mr Arnold said he would give Mr Nottingham the opportunity to remove the material on the website before a decision was made on whether to prosecute.

He also suggested that Mr Nottingham bore a grudge against Justice Randerson, and warned him to leave the judge alone.

"The allegations concerning judicial corruption, bias, and the existence of a widespread conspiracy against you mirror the allegations you have made in court on numerous occasions.

"As I see it, such conduct is an attempt on your part to relitigate the earlier court proceedings in the public arena and to vilify and punish the judges involved."

The letter warns that contempt of court is a criminal offence and penalties can be a fine or imprisonment.

Mr Nottingham said he bore no grudge, and had written back to the Solicitor-General accusing him of "gangland" tactics.

"I will not be intimidated by the serious threats contained in this ill-informed and intemperate correspondence," he said.

It was a matter of free speech and both letters would go on the website.
By Stuart Dye | Email Stuart
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Posted Yesterday, 07:31 PM

View PostFrom 03 January 2012 - 10:58 AM:


a minimum of 3 computer in the office, and also 2 cellphones all internet capable!

why is Dermott Notttigham on Laudafinums youtube site?


scan and delete all temp files, and use your inprivate web browser...


That is wise advice, because Nottingham caused enough concern that ACC refused to deal with him due to concerns for staff and claimant safety. Television show Fairgo established that Nottingham and Advantage Advocacy (a company closely linked to Re/Max Advantage's Earle McKinney) did not provide the services that one claimant paid for. When challenged by the claimant Dermot Nottingham became rude and aggressive, this is not the behaviour of a fit and proper person.


Quote
19 January 2006

Response to Fair Go media queries on advocate Dermot Nottingham

You have posed the following questions about Auckland advocate Dermot Nottingham:
� what can ACC say about his current status with our organisation;
� if there has been a change recently, what was that and why;
� how does Mr Nottingham�s current status compare to that of other advocates working in �this area�; and
� if someone approaches ACC over a review, with Mr Nottingham as their advocate, what does ACC say to this person.

1. Mr Nottingham�s current status with ACC
ACC does not recognise Mr Nottingham when he purports to be acting as an advocate for claimants in their dealings with ACC.
2. Whether there was a recent change in Mr Nottingham�s status, what it was, and why
In May 2004, ACC sent a form letter (see Appendix for the full text) to the claimants we were able to identify at that time as being personal injury clients of Mr Nottingham, advising �ACC�s General Manager for the branch network has determined that ACC will no longer recognise Mr Nottingham in the role as advocate for ACC claimants...�

3. How Mr Nottingham�s current status compares with that of other advocates working in this area
Withdrawing recognition of Mr Nottingham as an advocate for ACC claimants was a most unusual step for ACC to take. It arose because after considerable endeavours over an extensive period of time, ACC found that Mr Nottingham was unable to work constructively with us. The terms under which ACC would continue to work with Mr Nottingham were advised to him in writing. He declined to meet the conditions set by ACC, indeed there has been no change in his behaviour or his approach to ACC. ACC decided not to work with him in the interests of the safety of staff and claimants, and the need to assist claimants to move through rehabilitation to independence.
DRSL at this point had not declined to work with Mr Nottingham. DRSL operates independently from ACC and makes its own determinations about the acceptability of individual advocates.
Mr Nottingham should have been aware from early May 2004 that he would not be recognised by ACC as an advocate for claimants. That remains the position today.


4.What ACC tells them if someone indicates to ACC that they have engaged Mr Dermot Nottingham as their claimant advocate
The form letter in Appendix A, appropriately modified with the current date, would be sent to the claimant.




Simon Calvert
ACC Corporate Affairs team manager
DDI 04 918 7884 MOB 0274 470 255 FAX 04 918 7636
Email [email protected]



Appendix:

Letter to claimant re advocate status

Claim Number:
3 May 2004
[Claimant identity and address withheld]


Dear [Claimant identity withheld],
This letter is to set out a change in the way that ACC will be working with you in relation to your claim in the future. This concerns your choice of advocate in your dealings with ACC. I note that Dermot Nottingham has been your chosen advocate, and ACC has a current authority for him to act on your behalf.
I wish to advise you that ACC�s General Manager for the branch network has determined that ACC will no longer recognise Mr Nottingham in the role of advocate for ACC claimants. This means you will have to select an alternative advocate or support person in your dealings with ACC. The reasons for this change have been communicated directly to Mr Nottingham.
This notification will not affect the management of your claim and your right to access rehabilitation and entitlements. Your rights under the Code of ACC Claimants Rights are fully preserved. Furthermore I wish to encourage you to select an alternative advocate or support person who can work with you [sic] your relationship with ACC. It can be helpful to have a suitable support person and ACC recognises this.
Please telephone me should you have any further questions or comments regarding this letter.

Yours sincerely
[Name withheld]
Branch Manager [Branch withheld]
Please quote the claim number
19 January 2006
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#23 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 07:55 PM

http://www.nzherald....bjectid=3582479



Campaigner accuses nuns

5:00 AM Friday Aug 6, 2004


A high-profile Auckland businessman, who has spent years fighting "justice campaigns", claims he was abused as a child by nuns at Nazareth House in Christchurch and is seeking compensation.

Dermot Nottingham
developed a public profile in the 1990s after exposing odometer tampering on imported cars.

He is seeking at least $30,000 in compensation as a second round of talks between alleged victims and Nazareth House begins.

Mr Nottingham and his siblings were placed in the St Joseph's boys' home, run by Nazareth Sisters, in 1971 and 1972 after their father was killed in a car accident. His mother paid for his stay in the home.

Mr Nottingham has accused Nazareth nuns of sustained abuse over two years, including having his hand broken after more than a dozen blows with a hardwood dowel and being deprived of food for a week because he refused to eat his dinner.

A psychological assessment found he was "exposed to severe and prolonged trauma as a very young child, which had a substantial psychological impact on his functioning over a long period of time, and still can cause emotional distress in the present day".

Mr Nottingham
and about 20 other complainants entered mediation talks yesterday, the second group of alleged victims to seek compensation from the Sisters since abuse allegations first surfaced.

Sisters of Nazareth has paid for the group's legal representation.

Mr Nottingham says he will give any compensation to charity and that he pursued the complaint only to put the matter to rest.

"The time spent at the home was an absolute disaster for my entire family. The family became completely dysfunctional. All of us were violent upon the return to class."

Mr Nottingham
said he expected his claim to be taken seriously and would not "be silenced and satisfied with a Hail Mary or two".

The mediation process continues this week, with Mr Nottingham hoping to settle on more than the $5000 to $15,000 likely payout indicated by his lawyers.

Last year, it was reported that the Sisters of Nazareth had given cars, overseas trips, home appliances and other gifts to alleged victims.

The payments were part of an undisclosed settlement reached by the order with 17 complainants who alleged physical and sexual abuse while in the nuns' care at Nazareth House and St Joseph's home.

The complaints spanned from the 1930s to the 1960s.

Fourteen women and three men confronted the Sisters, who were visiting from Australia, in an emotional two-week mediation.

- NZPA
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#24 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 07:58 PM

http://www.nzherald....bjectid=3502589

Campaigner's speeding conviction quashed
By Wayne Thompson
5:00 AM Monday May 19, 2003


By WAYNE THOMPSON

Self-styled justice campaigner Dermot Nottingham
has had a speeding conviction quashed because police withheld detail about the accuracy of the radar Machine used.

But despite having a $230 fine wiped, the Aucklander, who received national publicity as a whistle-blower against odometer fraud, said he was unhappy that the judge rejected many of his complaints about police radar operations.

He was returning to court on Friday to seek leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal against parts of the reserved judgment of Justice Barry Paterson.

The High Court judge heard Mr Nottingham's appeal case against his speeding conviction by two justices of the peace in the district court in March last year.

The police said its Eagle radar device indicated Mr Nottingham drove his Mercedes at 76km/h in a 50km/h area on Hillsborough Rd, Auckland, in September 2000.

Mr Nottingham,
who conducted his own defence, appealed to the High Court on several grounds, including that the police did not give him all information necessary for a fair trial.

Justice Paterson
allowed Mr Nottingham's appeal, saying the failure to produce the machine's calibration log book for the relevant day in September 2000 was "a denial of Mr Nottingham's right of disclosure and may have prejudiced him in his defence of the charge".

He was satisfied from the evidence given that the radar was working accurately and that the JPs accepted that its operator was proficient.

But the appellant was not able to produce or investigate evidence to the contrary, because the police consistently refused to produce a copy of the log book for the relevant day.

Justice Paterson said he shared other judges' disquiet at determining accuracy issues when the evidence upon which accuracy can be established is entirely with the prosecution.

Evidence of the Eagle's accuracy was given, he said. Of 211 Eagle sets operating during 2000, there were 27 rejects for various reasons. But no evidence showed whether the Eagle used in this case was one of those rejected.

Justice Paterson rejected Mr Nottingham's claims that police intimidated him and gave unreliable evidence, and that the JPs showed bias against him.

By Wayne Thompson | Email Wayne

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 08:03 PM

http://www.nzherald....objectid=187656


Doubts on police suppression bid
5:00 AM Tuesday May 8, 2001

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By ALISON HORWOOD

Civil rights lawyer Tim McBride
is concerned about a proposal for police-only legislation to protect the identity of officers involved in fatal shootings.

His comments follow an announcement by Justice Minister Phil Goff that he has asked officials to look at options for protecting police in response to a new website revealing the identity of the constable who shot Waitara man Steven Wallace.

Mr McBride said that since the Bill of Rights called for proceedings to be public, there would have to be a compelling case for special protection. It would require strong evidence that someone whose name was published would suffer serious harassment.

"A special category for police does give rise to some concerns. If it is good enough for the police, why is it not good enough for all people who have behaved lawfully but have been exposed to some form of harassment?"

Mr Goff said yesterday that there was a question of whether police needed statutory protection during investigations into fatalities.

He was keeping an open mind on options, but said his preference was either for courts to have the power to suppress a police officer's identity on application or an automatic right, which could be challenged.

The cabinet is likely to have the options for consideration within six to eight weeks.

Mr Goff
said the media generally followed a long-standing protocol not to name an officer involved in a death. The new website showed that the voluntary understanding was no longer enough.

The website, launched by Auckland campaigner Dermot Nottingham, includes the photo, name and nickname of the officer involved in the shooting on April 30 last year. It also includes various reports, including the police report which said he acted out of self-defence.


A Wallace family spokesman, Terry Wallace, said information had been put on the internet without the knowledge or consent of the family.

He said Mr Nottingham was involved with the family for a short time but his responsibility had been revoked.

"It was conflicting with what we were doing and what John Rowan, QC, [the lawyer representing the family] was doing."

Mr Rowan has not yet ruled out the possibility of a private prosecution against the police.

Mr Wallace said he did not have strong views about the website, but believed it was Mr Nottingham's right to set it up.

But Mr Goff has said it was "utterly inappropriate" for the officer's identity to be revealed, particularly because an inquest is due to begin on May 21 and a Police Complaints Authority inquiry is incomplete.

The identity of the officer has been a closely guarded secret for more than a year. He and his family were spirited out of Taranaki by police and are now believed to be living in the South Island.

The Herald won a court battle to name him, but decided not to, having established in law that police did not have an automatic right to name suppression in such circumstances. The National Business Review later published the man's name.
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Posted 04 January 2012 - 08:08 PM

http://www.nzherald....objectid=139061

Odometer case against car dealer unproven

5:00 AM Saturday Jun 3, 2000



A former dealer in used cars was acquitted yesterday of conspiring to wind back odometers in vehicles destined to be sold in New Zealand.

Andrew John Gummer had denied one fraud charge of conspiring with a Japanese company and Japanese individuals.

The prosecution was brought by Dermot Nottingham, a former car salesman who created headlines in 1997 with allegations of widespread odometer tampering. He brought the case privately after the Serious Fraud Office refused to prosecute.

During the period in question, from 1995 to 1997, Gummer was a licensed motor vehicle dealer in Wairau Rd, Takapuna, in a business trading as United Car Sales.

Judge Phil Gittos
said evidence produced in the five-week hearing in the Auckland District Court proved beyond reasonable doubt that some vehicles Gummer imported through a Japanese company had had their odometers wound back.

But Judge Gittos said Mr Nottingham did not prove beyond all reasonable doubt that Gummer conspired with the Japanese company, Nikki International Corporation, or anybody else named in the prosecution.
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Posted 04 January 2012 - 08:12 PM

http://www.nzherald....bjectid=2046396

Car dealer opposes fraud trial
5:00 AM Thursday Jun 13, 2002


A lawyer acting for a former car dealer accused of odometer fraud by the Serious Fraud Office says his client is the victim of "double jeopardy".

John Mather
told Justice Robert Chambers in the High Court at Auckland the dealer had already been cleared of an odometer charge and should not stand trial again.

In June 2000, Judge Phil Gittos acquitted Andrew John Gummer of conspiring with a Japanese company and individuals to wind back the odometers of Japanese imports.

It was a private prosecution by self-styled whistle-blower and justice campaigner Dermot Nottingham.

The SFO had already laid very similar charges against Gummer.

The SFO now wants to proceed with those charges.

A jury trial had been set down for next Monday.

The defence had asked the district court to accept a special plea of previous acquittal or alternatively that the trial would be an abuse of process.

Mr Mather said that documentary evidence which was central in the private prosecution was also the main evidence in the SFO prosecution.

District Court Judge Graham Hubble did not grant the application.

Mr Mather has now appealed against Judge Hubble's decision to the High Court.

Yesterday, Justice Chambers ordered the district court to delay Monday's trial pending a review.
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Posted 04 January 2012 - 08:25 PM

http://www.vdig.net/...&d=03&o=32&p=45

DEBATE---GENERAL

OWEN JENNINGS (ACT NZ): Let me read to this House from the document that was quoted by the Labour Party, because unfortunately what was quoted is only part of what the Serious Fraud Office stated. ``This office is very conscious of the fact that there is not a comprehensive database available to conclusively identify the quantum of odometer tampering, notwithstanding the data that we have now matched, which is, incidently, supportive of a large-scale problem. It would be unreliable to extrapolate these figures across all imports.'' In other words, the Serious Fraud Office did say there was a problem, but it did not know how big the problem was. It is not correct for the Labour Party to quote that office in support of Labour's position.

Let me say why I spoke out against Harry Duynhoven lodging documents on the table of this House. The reason I did so was this. I have in my possession evidence that would suggest that the so-called conclusive evidence being put forward by some persons includes names of reputable, honest, hard-working dealers in Auckland and elsewhere in New Zealand. The privilege of this House should not be used to malign people, either by association or directly. I wrote to Mr Duynhoven yesterday. I said I had such information. I questioned whether he was proposing to take the action he did, and cautioned him against it.

Most of the evidence comes from one Nottingham and his brother, who have been active in this business for some time. Most of the evidence that I have seen, and most of the evidence that I know Mr Duynhoven has, has come from those sources, has been aided and abetted by those two brothers. If that is the evidence being put before the House, I say it is absolutely questionable. Indeed, if it is the only evidence those members have, I have to say it is shonky.

Evidence is being brought to this House from somebody who in 1978 was apprehended for theft, for unlawful interference, for burglary. In 1980 he was arrested for wilful damage. In 1983 he was arrested for fighting in a public place. In 1985 he was arrested for refusing to accompany an officer, using insulting language, and assaulting a traffic officer. He has been arrested for common assault and the discharge of a firearm in a public place. The list goes on and on. If the evidence comes from that person, then I have to say it is pretty questionable. If that is the material being put before this House as conclusive evidence, I have to say those members ought to think again. The Labour Party ought to think twice.


There is odometer fraud---there is absolutely no question about that---but we had better ask ourselves why it is being peddled out there. Mr Dermot Nottingham is proposing to be part of a company set up to be in charge of all cars introduced into New Zealand, so that he can have a financial stake. He wants to be the only person who introduces those cars. He wants to have a cut. Members of the Labour Party are putting forward evidence from that gentleman. They are proposing that it is substantial and that this House ought to reflect on it. I have to say: ``Think again.''

A report from the company that proposes to do odometer checks states: ``This report is for exclusive information and use, and no responsibility is accepted to any third party for the whole or any part of its contents. Neither the whole or any part of this report may be published in any way without prior written approval.'' What sort of evidence is that? The guy will not even stand by what he is saying. He will not even categorically say that he will allow other people to use his evidence. Such is the evidence being put before this House.

I suggest that there is a real problem out there. If all of these cars have been tampered with, where are the consumers? Where are the 250,000 people who bought a car knowing it was a Japanese import? Where is the wave of anxiety? Where is the roar from the hills of consumers wanting something done about it? This is a ruse by the Labour Party. It is a ruse to get round Mr Kirton. Labour members want him to cross the floor and sit on that side of the House. That is the only reason they are peddling their wares in this House today. That sort of evidence ought to be denied the right to come on to the floor of this House.


Parliamentary Debate

http://www.vdig.net/...nt.jsp?id=59120

APPROPRIATION (1997/98 ESTIMATES) BILL
: In Committee

Wednesday, September 03, 1997
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MARK PECK (NZ Labour---Invercargill): I seek leave to table two sets of documents. One is a random sample of cases that show odometer fraud, taken from independent evidence supplied by more than 2,800 car owners. The second is a random selection of cases showing the concern expressed by more than 2,800 car owners because their odometers had been wound back, as well.

Hon. Winston Peters: As a point of clarification, I would like to know whether the documents that for the third time today the member is seeking to table are included in the documents already tabled by the Acting Minister of Customs. In the interests of the New Zealand taxpayer we do not want wasteful duplication with people Xeroxing the same documents. Nine voluminous folders have been presented by the Acting Minister of Customs. If we are to have the same documents produced then that will be a gross waste of time. I want to know whether they are the same documents.

The CHAIRPERSON (Ian Revell)
: The point is well made. The question is whether they are the same documents. The member does not have to answer unless he wants to.

MARK PECK:
To the best of my ability, without having seen the box that has been delivered tonight, we believe these are not the same documents.

Rt Hon. J B Bolger: Can the honourable member seeking to table the documents advise us where the documents came from.

MARK PECK: I can. They have just been handed to me by my colleague Mr Duynhoven. These particular documents have come about as a result of a random selection of cases taken from the independent evidence collected by Dermot Nottingham, 0900 9 WIND, a helpline for those seeking advice about ``clocked'' cars. The documents are from customers' surveys and also the random sample of odometer fraud.

Rt Hon. J B Bolger: Can I have one more point of clarification, very briefly.

The CHAIRPERSON (Ian Revell): This is the last question.


Rt Hon. J B Bolger:
Is this the same Mr Dermot Nottingham who had 17 convictions when he applied for a motor vehicle dealer's licence?


The CHAIRPERSON (Ian Revell): The Chair will not accept any further contributions. Leave is sought. Some questions have been answered and some have not. Leave is sought for the purpose of tabling those documents. Is there any objection to that course of action? Objection has been taken.
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#29 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 08:42 PM

http://www.propertyt...st-2m-sent-bust

Queenstown builder owing at least $2m sent bust

Queenstown builder owing at least $2m sent bust

24 November 2005


A Queenstown building company that owes at least $2 million on one project alone was put into liquidation yesterday after an urgent hearing in the Invercargill High Court.

Justice Hansen
agreed to appoint interim liquidators to take over Southern Lakes Construction Ltd, saying one company director, Dean Chisholm, had put his own interests ahead of creditors.

Other assets had to be in jeopardy, he said.

Southern Lakes Construction
was the building contractor for a Queenstown apartment block being developed by Hallenstein St Project Ltd on the corner of Hallenstein St and Beetham St.

Southern Lakes Construction, headed by Chisholm, stopped work at the site on October 31 because of contract problems.

On November 9, Advantage Advocacy representative Dermott Nottingham sent a letter to creditors on behalf of Chisholm in which he tried to put all the blame for the contract problems on the developer, Hallenstein St Project Ltd, Justice Hansen said. Creditors were invited to a meeting scheduled for November 18. However, some creditors were invited to an informal "pre-meeting" meeting the day before where various offers were made and statements about the company's level of debt given without supporting evidence.

Chisholm then informed creditors he had transferred $900,000 from Southern Lakes Construction to another of his companies, Cardrona Developments, and $500,000 to the Chisholm Family Trust, Justice Hansen said.

After he failed to win support from those at the meeting, Chisholm cancelled the creditors' meeting planned for the next day.

He then went to his company's office in Stanley St and cleared it out.

As a result, panel supplier and creditor MLSI Ltd, which wasn't at the informal meeting, set in motion the application for Southern Lakes Construction to be put into liquidation.

MLSI was supported by Hallenstein St Project Ltd and five trade creditors, Justice Hansen said.

Those creditors – Modulink Interiors, Gasco Queenstown, Tansley Electrical, Coast To Coast Interiors and Bays Plastering – were owed a total of $1 million.

Hallenstein St Project Ltd had a liquidation damage clause in its contract with Southern Lakes Construction and was owed $1.1 million.

Justice Hansen
said Chisholm was involved in a Belfast St development that was very near completion. He had also left that site on October 31 and it was unclear how much was owed.

Chisholm's other company, Cardrona Developments, had a site at Cardrona but no work had been done there since August, he said.

It appeared the $2.6 million costs associated with that development to date were far higher than revenue received.

Justice Hansen said the court could infer there would be significant debts in relation to those two developments as well.

Southern Lakes Construction was not represented at the liquidation hearing yesterday.

An application for final liquidation will be heard in the new year.

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"There's one way to find out if a man is honest-ask him. If he says 'yes,' you know he is a crook." Groucho Marx
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Posted 04 January 2012 - 08:56 PM

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Chapter 1 FAST REWIND

It is the biggest fraud in this country’s history, a deception that even the Serious Fraud Office estimates is at least $768 million. Forget about $768 million. I know for a fact it is more like two billion dollars. Yes, two billion dollars. Let me explain. Six hundred thousand imported second hand Japanese cars have come into New Zealand. If you accept that at least 70 percent of that number had wound odometers, then 400,000 wound cars were purchased by New Zealand consumers. The average price paid would have been about $15,000. Given that a third of that value is fraudulent then each transaction would have resulted in a $5000 fraud. Multiply those 400,000 wound cars by $5000 and you get some idea of the size of this fraud.

Just remember those numbers when the Government tells you that you have been lucky enough to buy cheap cars. But what has passed is not as important as what lies ahead. This fraud cannot be allowed to continue and believe me it is continuing. The National Government has refused to hold an inquiry into odometer fraud. I believe this book is that inquiry. The National Party doesn’t want to have an inquiry because it knows where it would lead. The fall of the Government.

The answer to odometer fraud lies with the next Government. It can be stopped almost immediately. I recently went to Japan with Labour Transport spokesman Harry Duynhoven and in the space of four days we established that all New Zealand car buyers can access papers showing the previous ownership of their imported vehicle in Japan. And they should not be surprised if their luxury import was previously used as a taxi or by a sales representative and more than likely travelled three times the distance disclosed on the odometer when it was imported into New Zealand. You should be saying to yourself why didn’t the importer or car dealer in New Zealand access these papers when he bought the car in Japan? This book will tell you how easy it is for a dealer to guarantee mileage on all imports or historically prove that the mileage was genuine. And how the Government had the power to make him do this from day one but didn’t.

But first, a little background: The used car importation came about partly by accident and partly by design. The Labour Government, in its pursuit of deregulation, had left open a loophole big enough to drive an imported truck through, specifically relating to baggage brought in by travellers.

It had long been a perk that New Zealanders who’d spent more than six months overseas could bring back a vehicle as "baggage" without incurring the full whack of duty and taxes that cars sold in NZ attracted.

Somehow, the loophole lessened the six month time requirement, and all of a sudden holidaymakers were coming home from a week in Tokyo, not with Louis Vuitton but with Lexus as "hand luggage".

Sensing an opportunity, enterprising car dealers – many of the backyard variety – got into the act, and took tour groups over to Japan for "weekend holidays", whereupon they all arrived back with suitcases capable of doing zero to sixty in around eight seconds.

In the early days of such imports it was Mazda RX7s – the series 1 model – that were capturing the hearts of buyers. Because of Japan’s stringent vehicle fitness laws (which probably owed their existence to a backroom deal between the Japanese Government and the carmakers to force people to buy new cars) that made it expensive to keep cars more than five years old on the road, near-new vehicles were gathering dust in Japan.

Well, they were "near-new" in New Zealand terms. This country’s vehicle fleet, like Australia’s, was old. With prices for new vehicles extremely high because of the local assembly industry, it was economic to keep maintaining older vehicles, and a fifteen year old Holden Kingswood could still fetch six or seven thousand dollars on the NZ market – double that if it was a customised V8.

Secondhand series 1 RX7’s, which had been selling for $16,000 to $20,000 in the late 80’s, were being purchased for a song as deregistered vehicles in Japan and imported to New Zealand.

So, when travellers found they could travel to Japan for a weekend, purchase an RX7 for $4,000, ship it back and still have change out of a tenner, it was all on.

As the trickle of motorised luggage became a rush hour, car manufacturers in New Zealand and Licensed Motor Vehicle Dealers called for the baggage loophole to be closed. And so it was.

But the bright ideas brigade could still smell profits. The prices in Japan were so cheap, that even if you imported the cars and paid full duty, you’d still make a profit selling them in New Zealand. What’s more, the Japanese vehicles came with much higher equipment and cabin specification than the locally assembled NZ equivalent.

Where the Japanese import had air conditioning, the NZ car had windows. Where the Japanese import had electric windows, the NZ car had, well, just windows. You’ve probably got the picture.

So, instead of acting as travel guides and charging a fee to car-buying holidaymakers, many of the early pioneers became full time importers. They organised shipments of cars themselves, paid the duty, and flogged them off at various locations around the country.

Again, the car industry, both new and secondhand, cried foul. But this time the Government wasn’t in the mood to listen. Why? Possibly because the sudden rush of imported cars was being matched by an increase in tariff receipts and import GST for the Government revenue, but also because the imports were acting as a deflationary pressure by bringing car prices down.

"This time," said the Government to the industry, "You’re on your own!"

Initially used car dealers sneered at the imports, and refused to sell them or trade them in. Nor could the owner of an imported vehicle always find parts. The Japanese domestic market had been largely used as a testing ground for many bizarre vehicle models. A Toyota Corona might mean one thing to a New Zealander, and something totally different to a Tokyo driver.

To beat the parts cartel – the New Zealand dealers refusing to stock parts for the imports – importers and importing dealers set up their own parts supply chain direct from Japan.

Suddenly the kiwi consumer had choice: the chance to buy NZ made, or higher spec’ed and cheaper imports. For the first time in both cases, supply of parts and service was assured.

Pretty soon the barriers crumbled, and everyone was in on the act. The reality is car dealers have always wound the speedos on vehicles imported from Japan and the reason is greed. The margins are so good. To be competitive you had to be a winder simply because everyone was doing it.

Now they could buy the cheapest Japanese cars at auction, those with 150,000 k’s on the clock, for perhaps $1,500 to $3,000. After arranging to have the odometer rewound to 60,000 k’s, the vehicle was suddenly more valuable, increasing the dealer’s margin.

Since 1987, more than 600,000 imported Japanese cars have come into New Zealand. As you will see later in this book, Government and industry officials estimate up to 70 or 80% of those imports would have had their speedos rewound. So that is 400,000 to 500,000 vehicles.

If you multiply all of those cars by an average fiddle of $5,000, you are beginning to get some idea of just how big a crime this is.

Don’t be blown away by the figures and don’t for one moment think that you as a consumer can’t get your money back if you bought a wound car. You can and I have — got refunds on behalf of ripped-off car buyers. At last count I had negotiated one million dollars worth of refunds for New Zealand consumers who bought wound cars, by getting a number of cheating licensed motor vehicle dealers to pay up. That is no mean feat. Getting a refund out of a car dealer is a bit like getting blood out of a stone, only harder.

New Zealand consumers need to understand this is a fraud that is shameless and breathtakingly simple. Winding back a car odometer in the trade is known as flicking — giving the car a haircut. This crime is oh so simple. It’s not some complex accounting procedure that involves two dollar Cook Island companies or a "bottom of the harbour" bank account. I’m talking about something as basic as removing the speedo and using a screwdriver to wind back the tumblers, wiping out 60,000, 80,000, 100,000 or more kilometres, all of which happens in Japan for a very small fee soon after the car is sold at auction.

The car arrives in New Zealand but instead of the speedo showing the true mileage it has miraculously travelled backwards. Of course when the New Zealand importer bought the car in Japan the price he paid reflected the true speedo reading. If the car had travelled a high number of kilometres it would have been a cheap buy. But by the time the dealer/importer sells the car to an unsuspecting New Zealand consumer, who thinks the rewound mileage is genuine, the dealer has made $5,000 to $10,000 or more in profit.

Believe me, these New Zealand winders were greedy, and Japanese car agents were more than happy to do the winding for their Kiwi clients. All they had to do was ask.

You see, the New Zealand National Government would have you believe that the flood of Japanese imports has meant that New Zealand consumers have been able to buy cheap cars.

This is only partly true: the cars are cheaper than they used to be, but not as cheap as they should be. If New Zealand Customs had done its job and cracked down on this fraud, those "cheap" cars would have cost a lot less. You would be getting value for money instead of lining the pockets of unscrupulous car dealers.

There are two predominant reasons why a businessperson commits white collar crime: high returns and low risk. Essentially white collar crime is purely a business decision. White collar criminals are looking for an advantage over a competitor. In business, the only unfair advantage is one you do not have. Consequently odometer fraud is a crime that occurred almost every time an average New Zealander bought a used Japanese imported car.

Not all car dealers are fraudsters, but those who masterminded these schemes have gone on to make millions. It’s a fraud that begs so many questions, a crime the so-called Serious Fraud Office not only knows about but can prove in a court of law. I know they can because I know they have the evidence.

An SFO investigator travelled to Japan after my brother Phil told him what evidence to get and where to get it. The evidence was good enough to take away a car dealer’s licence, yet to date the SFO has done nothing, prosecuted no one. The question is "Why?" I hope to be able to answer that question.

This is a fraud the government knew about but turned a blind eye to, a fraud that in my view was aided and abetted by the New Zealand Customs Service, the only organisation in this country that had the power to stop it at the border. Why Customs did nothing, and make no mistake they knew it was happening, is a question every New Zealander is entitled to ask and have answered. As far as I am concerned it was either incompetence or corruption or both. But more on that later.

In the course of the next 260 pages or so, you will discover the following:

That contrary to what a dealer may tell you, the burden of proof on odometer fraud rests with dealers on all cars imported between mid-1991 and April 1998, under the terms of the law at the time.

That contrary to what a dealer may tell you, a window card warning of possible odometer inaccuracy is not necessarily sufficient to get dealers off the hook legally.

That all cars sold at auction in Japan are required by local law to have full documentation on service history and genuine mileage.

That the failure or refusal of a New Zealand dealer or importer to produce these auction sheets on request may be indicative of odometer tampering with intent.

That the Serious Fraud Office had sufficient evidence to lay criminal charges, but at date of going to press, had failed to do so.

That the fraud, in itself, is simple. If a dealer has enough cause to put a warning on a car he believes is suspect, then under the Fair Trading Act’s deceptive conduct provisions he should also reduce the price to reflect that doubt, in the same way that factory "seconds" are cheaper. It is the asking of a genuine price for a car carrying a warning that is fraudulent, because it lulls the buyer into thinking that the warning is only cosmetic.

I blew the whistle on this fraud. I ratted on the winders in the car industry — the ones that I knew about — and I make no apologies. Instead of beating them I could have joined them — become a winder — and I have no doubt I would have made millions.

That is not an idle boast. I was a millionaire at the age of 22. Believe me, winding cars in this country has been more profitable than drug dealing.


Chapter 2 WARNING! WARNING!


After a brief sojourn into property development, which made us and then lost us millions, we desperately needed to make a quid. Phil and I were good salesmen so we both decided to get into the car trade. That’s what makes me so angry about the whole issue of odometer fraud. I know that if the used car trade in New Zealand operated on a level playing field, in other words if car salesmen and women relied on their own abilities to sell cars instead of winding back speedos and ripping off consumers, then Phil and I would be making a good living. We are good at selling cars. The New Zealand used car industry is not a level playing field; it has been full of winders.

My first job in the car trade was with Chris Stephens Motors in Auckland. I sold three cars the first day on the job. I broke the yard’s sales records. In one weekend I made $44,000 in profit for Chris Stephens. That made him one very happy man. He was prepared to do anything to keep me selling cars. He paid all of the legal bills to get me approved as a car salesman. But Chris Stephens and I had a bit of a falling out and I decided to move on.

In 1992 I ended up in Australia. I was in pretty bad physical shape, eating bad food and drinking to excess. My weight had ballooned to 21 stone. I was acting as if I had a death wish. But I met a Scottish girl and fell in love. She put me on the straight and narrow. I became fit, lost a lot of weight and was happy for the first time in my life. I was selling new and used cars in Australia. Then I decided to move to Scotland and live with my girlfriend, which was an experience in itself.

I was held for seven hours at London’s Gatwick Airport under the British Prevention of Terrorism Act.


I’ve been called a lot of things in my life but no one has ever called me a terrorist. It seems there is some kind of data entry on my passport which pops up every time I leave New Zealand. I can only speculate that it relates to something in my past. A past, I might add, which relates to my time as a juvenile. There have been one or two convictions for assault in later life. But there is nothing, I repeat, nothing, in my criminal past that would warrant me being detained for seven hours as a suspected terrorist. They finally let me into the United Kingdom and I spent one year in Scotland, which was a hard slog, before returning to Australia.

In Sydney I was reunited with my brother Phil and we both got jobs back in the car trade. In 1996 I went to work for Eastwood Honda. Australians have a love affair with Honda cars. They are expensive cars brand new; even used Hondas attract a premium price. Eastwood Honda was a dealership that sold new and used cars. The Branch Manager had a demonstration Honda Accord which he used as his company car. Now when you are in the car trade for any length of time you get to know cars inside and out. Call it a sixth sense: you know if a car has been wound or not. I was suspicious of the cars on the Eastwood Honda lot.

Odometer fraud is virtually unheard of in Australia. The Australians have very tough consumer laws and the Aussies are less than tolerant when it comes to the consumer being ripped off.

Anyway, the Branch Manager put an advertisement in the newspaper offering the demonstration Honda for sale at a very cheap price. A potential car buyer rang up that morning and came down to have a look at the car. It was my job to take him for a test drive. So I went to the Branch Manager’s office and grabbed the keys to the Honda Accord. As I was leaving the Branch Manager, who was a guy called Ray Smith, rushed out of his office and chased after me. He said, Dermot, I have got to start the car for you. I thought, that sounds pretty strange. I have had a driver’s licence since the age of 15; I think I know how to start a car.

We both walked over to the car and he opened the driver’s door, reached under the dash and flipped the tiniest of switches, barely visible to the naked eye. He saw the quizzical look on my face and said oh, it’s the alarm. I knew he was lying but I said okay. As we were driving out of the car yard Ray Smith told me the truth. He said it was a switch to disconnect the speedo. I thought to myself you low- life bastard. I asked him how many genuine kilometres he thought the car had done. He said "about 3000 kilometres" but according to the speedo it had only done much less than that. This had to be stopped.

I told Ray Smith that I knew of someone who might be interested in buying the car but I needed to take it home that night which I did. Phil and I then spent an hour trying to find the switch. We then took the car for a drive on the freeway. The odometer showed we were travelling 80 kilometres and hour but when I reached under the dash and flipped the switch, the needle suddenly showed zero. The whole odometer had been disconnected.

I decided the best way to deal with this was to approach the media. I knew from living in Australia that Aussies love nothing better than a consumer rip-off story. It almost always ends up with positive action being taken to stamp out the practice. I rang the Channel 9 television programme A Current Affair. I spoke to one of their reporters, Howard Gipps. ACA, as it is known in Australia, is a half-hour programme that goes to air after the news at 6.30pm, Monday to Friday. It is one of Australia’s highest rating television programmes and is watched by millions of people all over the country. We drove the Honda to the Channel 9 studios in Sydney.

The ACA team’s initial reaction was to treat us with suspicion until I took them for a test drive in the Honda and flipped the switch to disconnect the speedo. The ACA reporter, Howard Gipps, was impressed to say the least. ACA then organised to get more cars from Eastwood Honda’s car yard to check and see whether the switch was installed in other cars, new and used. ACA found more cars with the switch installed. They decided on an elaborate sting to catch Eastwood Honda with their pants down, complete with covert filming. The New South Wales Department of Fair Trading was contacted, as was the National Roads and Motorists Association (NRMA) which is the equivalent of the Automobile Association in New Zealand.

The NRMA was able to explain how the switch actually worked. The odometer disconnection device wasn’t always located under the dashboard. It was frequently found in other areas of the car’s interior. The upshot of all of this was that the car yard was raided by the Department of Fair Trading and the police. When the sting went down, Phil and I were in a darkened van across the road. One of the salesmen took off so we chased him down the road. I rang him on his mobile and pretended to be a police officer. I told him that he should return to the yard immediately. I made up a bogus name and told the salesman that I had got his mobile number from the Branch Manager. I said to him if you are not back on the yard in 15 minutes I will issue a warrant for your arrest. The guy did a U-turn and headed straight back to the yard.

In addition to all of this, I had an employment case against Eastwood Honda over the non-payment of $7,000, money that I had legitimately earned as a car salesman. We later reached an out-of-court settlement.

Eastwood Honda was charged under the New South Wales Fair Trading Act and the case is still before the courts in Australia. The car yard may well end up losing its licence. What a pity we don’t have that same tough approach here in New Zealand.

The experience of exposing Eastwood Honda convinced me of one thing: the power of television to effect real change.

By the time the story of Eastwood Honda had broken in Australia I was ready to return to New Zealand. I walked straight back into the car trade and was General Manager of a car yard within two days of arriving in Auckland. But things had not changed for the better in the car trade in New Zealand. If anything they had got worse. When I left in 1992, dealers were trying to hide the fact that they sold wound cars. But now four years later they were utterly shameless about it.

The winders were winning. They thought they were above the law and they were. Like I said, I could have joined them but instead I wanted to beat them. I wanted to work in a car industry that had a level playing field, where the measure of your success was how hard you worked and how good you are as a salesman. But the New Zealand car game is an industry built on fraud so prevalent and widespread it is almost an institution.

I deliberately set out to put an end to speedo rewinding. What the winders didn’t count on was the Sheriff of Nottingham, the Anti-clocking Crusader. So I sued the rogue dealers and Customs, took away a winder’s car licence, charged two winders criminally and took my story and evidence to the media. It has been a carefully executed campaign. I have attacked the Imported Motor Vehicle Dealers Association — the IMVDA — and the Motor Vehicle Dealers Institute — the MVDI. I have attacked them because I believe – for reasons that will become clear – that they have conspired to cheat the consumer.

But to understand my motivation for doing all of this, you have to understand how the used car trade was operating in New Zealand from 1991 onwards. Before I tell you of my involvement in the odometer fraud story you must first understand how the winders were working the system, more importantly how the system was working for them.

The dealers had taken to placing warnings on the car’s window card in the yard. The window card gives important details like the make and model whether the vehicle has power steering, air-conditioning and so on, as well as the price. Dealers had decided to include a warning on the window card alerting potential buyers to the possibility that the car’s mileage may be incorrect. Its wording was: "Warning: odometer reading may be incorrect".

But before I deal with the wording of that warning, New Zealand consumers need to know that there are at least two court cases which will greatly assist if not, in my opinion, guarantee that they can get a full refund if their vehicle has been wound. In my view, car dealers have been given a huge helping hand by wrongful interpretations of the law by the Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal and some judges in the District Court.

Take the District Court case of Taupo Auto Sales Limited v Bergensen. In that case Judge Millar rejected what was earlier held to be the status quo as far as the law on odometer accuracy was concerned. This was that where a purchaser could establish a substantial misrepresentation between the odometer reading on the statutory window card and the actual distance the car had travelled, then he or she was entitled to get their money back.

Not so, according to Judge Millar of the District Court.

In what I would describe as a perverse piece of legal logic, the judge ruled that the only obligation a car dealer had was to put the odometer reading on the window card even if the reading was bogus. The dealer having done that, the poor old consumer would have no legal redress. In my opinion this District Court judgement condoned fraud or at the very least gave it the green light.

Thankfully, that District Court judgement was kicked to touch by a wiser and more experienced High Court judge, Mr Justice Holland, in a landmark decision given on the 20th of February 1990. His decision over-rules the District Court judgement and in my view can and should be used by consumers, who bought wound cars from 1990 until the present day, to get their money back.

Mr Justice Holland gave poor old Judge Millar a huge legal bollocking and, in my view, rightly so. I will explain how he dealt with the case. The High Court judge considered an appeal by a car dealer against a successful prosecution by the Commerce Commission under the Fair Trading Act.

In Taupo Autos v Bergensen, the vehicle sold to the consumer had an odometer reading that did not reflect its true mileage. In fact, the vehicle had travelled an extra 100,000 kilometres, or three times the distance disclosed on the window card. But despite the obvious odometer fraud, Judge Millar ruled that the dealer had complied with the provisions of the Motor Vehicle Dealer’s Act to do with odometer accuracy.

Mr Justice Holland took a close look at Taupo Auto Sales Limited v Bergensen because it had some legal similarities to the appeal he was being asked to deliberate on.

Mr Justice Holland made the following observations about Taupo Auto Sales v Bergensen:

"My concern however, is that the judge in Taupo Auto Sales Ltd does not appear to have applied his mind to the fact that Section 90 (7) [of the Motor Vehicle Dealer’s Act] creates criminal sanctions and that sections 96 and 101 create a civil liability. It is not impossible that it was the intention of Parliament for there to be a different criteria in each case. In a claim under section 96, the Tribunal is required to consider whether the vehicle "is substantially different from the vehicle as represented in the notice."

Mr Justice Holland focused his attention on what he considered was the key word: representation. He continues:

"If one asks the question; what is represented by a notice affixed to a car window that its odometer reading is X kilometres, one must consider that the ordinary person would be likely to believe that that was a representation that the vehicle had travelled a total distance of X kilometres. In the circumstances, the decision in Taupo v Bergensen is not directly before me and it is probably inappropriate for this court …to disagree with or over-rule that decision. It may well be that I have not heard full argument on the issue. I merely record that I am not to be taken as having agreed that the decision in Taupo Auto Sales Ltd v Bergensen correctly states the law."

Mr Justice Holland went on to say that the car dealer might have a defence to a criminal charge if he had no prior knowledge of the misrepresentation but merely displayed the odometer reading on the window card. But, this in no way excuses the car dealer from civil liability to a purchaser particularly if it can be proven later that the vehicle was wound and that the consumer paid a price which reflected the number of kilometres on the speedo and on the window card. Mr Justice Holland goes on to point out that successive Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunals have given a wrong interpretation on this legal point. The Tribunals keep saying that Judge Millar’s interpretation is the way to go which of course is totally wrong.

Mr Justice Holland’s decision is serious and important. At the very least New Zealand consumers who bought imported second hand Japanese vehicles from 1990 to the present day are entitled to get a full refund if they can prove that the car was wound. Mr Justice Holland was saying that no law can have a dishonest application. Nor can ignorance of the law be an excuse. The Crimes Act specifically states: "The fact that an offender is ignorant of the law is not an excuse for any offence committed by him."

In a civil sense, bad faith does not excuse a car dealer from liability to pay compensation or give a refund. I know car dealers who will argue, until they are blue in the face, that a bona fide purchase on their part indemnifies them from consumer claims if it can be proven later that the vehicle had been flicked.

It should be pointed out that the Fair Trading Act says the following:

"(1) Subject to this section, it is a defence if the defendant proves:

That the contravention was due to a reasonable mistake or

That the contravention was due to reasonable reliance on information supplied by another person or

That:-(i) The contravention was due to the act or default of another person or to an accident or to some other cause beyond the defendant’s control and (ii) The defendant took reasonable precautions and exercised due diligence to avoid the contravention.

Now before car dealers begin rubbing their hands with glee at what on the surface appears to be a defence under the Fair Trading Act they should also bear this in mind. While it might be a defence to a possible conviction and sentence under the Fair Trading Act, the consumer would still get their money back. Don’t forget, the Fair Trading Act also says this:

"No person shall, in trade, in connection with the supply or possible supply of goods or services or with the promotion by any means of the supply or use of goods or services - falsely represent that goods are of a particular kind, standard, quality, grade, quantity, composition, style or model or have had a particular history or particular previous use or

Make a false or misleading representation concerning the existence, exclusion or effect of any condition, warranty, guarantee, right or remedy."

Mr Justice Holland’s decision prompted a response from the National Party Government, three years after his judgement was given. The Government amended the Motor Vehicle Dealer’s Act in 1994, specifically section 101, to state clearly that no car dealer can legally contract out of what is statutory barred behaviour such as odometer fraud.

Section 101 of the Motor Vehicle Dealer’s Act says:

"For the avoidance of doubt, it is hereby declared that the Tribunal may make an order under subsection (1) of this section in any case where it is proved that the distance travelled by a second hand motor vehicle substantially exceeded the odometer reading as represented to the purchaser by the licensee, notwithstanding that a notice was attached to the vehicle pursuant to section 90 (1) of this Act, that stated the reading on the odometer at the time the vehicle was displayed for sale, unless the notice or a separate notice contained the statement referred to in section 90 (3) (ca) of this Act.

(1) Where any dispute referred to a Dispute’s Tribunal under Section 96 of this Act involves an allegation that a second-hand motor vehicle (not being a commercial vehicle) as sold by the licensee to the purchaser;

Is substantially different from the vehicle as represented in the notice attached to it in purported compliance with section 90 of this Act; or

Did not have a notice attached to it as required by section 90 of this Act and is substantially different from the vehicle as represented to the purchaser to the licensee- the tribunal may, if it is satisfied that the vehicle is substantially different as aforesaid-

Order that the contract of sale be rescinded in accordance with this section or :

Where having regard to all the circumstances of the case it considers that such an order for recission would be unwarranted or unjust, order the licensee to pay to the purchaser or to any other person claiming through the purchaser, such sum (not exceeding 12 thousand dollars) as the Tribunal thinks just by way of compensation in respect of the difference in value between the vehicle as represented and the vehicle sold by the licensee- and in either such case, the Tribunal may make such further or consequential order as it thinks fit.

(1A) Notwithstanding anything in section 98 of this Act, a Disputes Tribunal may make an order under subsection (1) (c ) of this section in any case where it is satisfied that the value of the motor vehicle in dispute does not exceed $30,000.

An order may be made under section (1) (c ) of this section notwithstanding that the parties cannot be restored to the position that they were in immediately before the contract was made, and in any such case the rights and obligations of each party shall be specified in the order.

In any case in which a Dispute’s Tribunal makes an order under subsection (1) (c ) of this section ,other than a case to which subsection (2) of this section applies it shall in the order- (a) Require the purchaser to return the vehicle to the Licensee and (B) Require any consideration passed by the purchaser to be returned to him or

Where in any case in which a Dispute’s Tribunal has made an order under subsection (1) (c ) of this section in respect of any contract or sale there is associated with that contract a collateral credit agreement, the purchasers rights and obligations under that agreement shall on the making of the order be vested in the licensee and may thereafter be enforced by and against the licensee as if he or she were the purchaser.

(4A) For the avoidance of doubt it is hereby declared that the Tribunal may make an order under subsection (1) of this section in any case where it is proved that the distance travelled by a second hand motor vehicle substantially exceeded the odometer reading as represented to the purchaser by the licensee, notwithstanding that a notice was attached to the vehicle pursuant to section 90 (1) of this Act that stated that the reading on the odometer at the time the vehicle was displayed for sale, unless the notice or separate notice contained the statement referred to in section 90 (3) (ca) of this Act."

There is no such thing as immunity from committing a crime. Just because one law says or implies for example that you can do X does not mean that you can automatically do X if by doing it you break the law. And, as Justice Holland pointed out, it certainly won’t save you from liability in a civil sense. In my opinion, the discernible difference between criminal and civil courts when it comes to complaints and cases of misrepresentation is intent. The Fair Trading Act has criminal provisions and substantial penalties for misrepresentation, but it also offers a defence if it was due to a reasonable mistake. But in my view this defence disappears when car dealers warn consumers that every car being offered for sale may be wound. This is not a warning - it is a misrepresentation. What’s more it is being done knowingly.

The key phrase that dealers rely on for a defence to odometer fraud is contained in section (4A) of section 101 of the Motor Vehicle Dealer’s Act. The key words are:

"Unless the notice or a separate notice contained the statement referred to in section 90 (3) (ca) of this Act :- This section provides; In any case where there are reasonable grounds to believe the odometer reading of the motor vehicle may not be correct, the words Warning odometer reading may be incorrect must be used."

Don’t forget what Mr Justice Holland ruled in PC Brixton v the Commerce Commission when he distinguished between the dealer’s responsibility to avoid criminal liability and the civil remedy available to a purchaser. The amendment to section 101 clearly dictated that a car dealer must have reasonable grounds to believe the odometer had been wound before being allowed to use the warning. Using Mr Justice Holland’s approach, a car dealer having reasonable grounds to believe a car is flicked and then asking a price suggesting that the odometer reading on the window card is genuine is, in my view, defrauding the consumer.

I hope you are asking yourself this question: How can a car dealer use the defence of ignorance when the dealer applied a warning stating that the odometer may be incorrect while still charging a price reflecting genuine mileage? In my view no court in New Zealand could accept that a consumer was properly warned about odometer fraud if they have paid a price which is inconsistent with the true value of the goods.

Every time I have turned up to appear before the Motor Vehicle Dispute’s Tribunal and a warning of sorts has been used , even if it is the correctly worded warning as prescribed under the Motor Vehicle Dealer’s Act, not one Tribunal member has ever asked the car dealer to justify the grounds for issuing the warning. especially if they were asking genuine money for the vehicle. You would think that would be the first question any tribunal would ask. If the consumer paid a price that reflected genuine mileage and the vehicle was later discovered to have been wound shouldn’t it automatically follow that the consumer is compensated? If the dealer told the tribunal he had no grounds for issuing a warning then the dealer would in my view have great difficulty defending a criminal charge let alone a civil complaint.

Mr Justice Holland in his decision in Brixton v the Commerce Commission stated the obvious as it occurred to him:

"it is trite that in certain circumstances a representation which is literally true may in the absence of qualification or explanation be a misrepresentation. When a representation is made, the test as to what is being represented would be what a reasonable person in the circumstances and with the knowledge of the person to whom the representation is made, would infer from that representation.

"If it were not for the provisions of section 90 of the Motor Vehicle Dealer’s Act there could be little argument against the proposition that a representation by the car dealer that a vehicle for sale had X kilometres on its odometer would be taken by the representee to mean that it was an indication of the total distance that the vehicle had travelled since new. I do not see anything in the provisions of the Motor Vehicle Dealer’s Act which detracts from that inference.

"It is obvious that when Parliament passed the Motor Vehicle Dealer’s Act, it recognised that there must be circumstances when a Motor Vehicle dealer could not reasonably be required to state the distance travelled by a motor vehicle since new and that criminal sanctions for a wrong statement in that regard would be unjustified. Hence, the obligation on a motor vehicle dealer which carried with it criminal sanctions for error was restricted to stating accurately the distance shown on the odometer."

Mr Justice Holland then makes a very important point:

"It is also trite that a purchaser of a vehicle is not interested in the number of kilometres shown on the odometer unless that is a reasonably accurate indication of the distance which the vehicle has travelled. The purpose of requiring the distance to be stated on the window card on a vehicle for sale is recognition that a purchaser is interested in the distance the vehicle has travelled.

"Section 13 (a) of the Fair Trading Act 1986 provides that it is an offence for a person in trade in connection with a supply of goods to falsely represent that the goods had a particular history. A statement by a motor vehicle dealer that a vehicle he is proposing to sell has X kilometres on the odometer is, in the absence of qualification or explanation and in ordinary circumstances, a representation that the vehicle, since new, has travelled approximately the stated number of kilometres. That is what was done in the present case. The evidence establishes that it was a false representation."

Mr Justice Holland was placing car dealers on notice. Regardless of what is on the window card, if a vehicle is found to be wound then a misrepresentation has occurred.

I would contend that it is inconsistent with honest intent for a car dealer to display a warning on odometer authenticity while at the same time charging a price that reflects genuine mileage. This is what is known as subliminal misrepresentation. While there is a warning of sorts, the prospective buyer would not take the warning very seriously because the price indicates that the vehicle is genuine. The price charged for the vehicle and its general condition would diminish the warning, especially if it only says the odometer reading may be incorrect.

In my view, an honest car dealer could only use the warning if the price of the vehicle reflected that warning. In my experience in the second hand motor trade in New Zealand not one single window card has ever shown a price that reflected the warning. And why would that be? Well, because I believe the Motor Vehicle Dealer’s Institute has told its members who are winders that it is "open season on wood ducks" - that’s car dealing slang for the average New Zealand consumer.

The other case that is extremely important for consumers wanting a full refund is a District Court judgement on odometer tampering delivered in Auckland on the 28th of May 1998. The case was Minchin v Honda New Zealand Ltd. In that case, his honour Judge Everitt rejected the car dealer’s submission that the form of the warning used was sufficient to give protection from civil liability for what was a proven case of odometer tampering.

The judge held that the dealer was required to satisfy one very important condition: the statutory warning on the window card can only be used where there were reasonable grounds that the odometer reading may not be correct. The dealer must demonstrate what those reasonable grounds were.

His honour said:

"If you have no reason to doubt that the odometer reading of the motor vehicle may not be correct you are not entitled to put a notice on the car warning that it may be incorrect."

This judgement is extremely important because it gives much needed credibility to the point I make over and over again in this book. No car dealer can use a warning of odometer fraud unless there are reasonable grounds for doing so. No reasonable grounds, no warning. End of story.

I will now deal in greater detail with the wording and the meaning behind the window card warning. I make no apologies if it sounds repetitive. New Zealand consumers need to understand how and why they have been duped in order to construct an argument that is going to get them a full refund. In 1993 the Consumer Guarantees Act was passed giving consumers yet another piece of legislation that enabled them to get their money back irrespective of whether the dealer had sold them a wound vehicle inadvertently or on purpose.

The Motor Vehicle Dealers Institute which governs licensed motor traders in New Zealand responded to the passage of this legislation with a 16-page publication that it sent to all of its members. It effectively told the dealers how to contract out of the Consumer Guarantees Act even though the Act strictly forbids contracting out.

That’s what I really love about the window card warning. The dealers thought that by having it, they were safe. But what they never realised was that the warning may, in fact, be indicative of the fraud.

I’ll explain. Take the following analogy. You as a consumer buy a Rolex watch from an authorised Rolex agent. After doing some buyer research the model you choose costs about 20 grand.

The price you pay reflects your belief that the watch is genuine. I mean you would have to be pretty stupid to part with 20 grand for a watch you know is a fake and only worth $200.

But every Rolex agent in town places a warning on all of his watches. It says they might be fakes. You have no choice, because every Rolex watch in the country carries the same warning. So you buy the Rolex for 20 grand thinking that it is genuine only to discover that it is a fake. You go to the Rolex agent and demand your money back.

But the agent says, "hang on a minute, you were warned that the watch might be fake". But you say "I thought the watch was genuine because I paid $20,000 for it which is the going rate for a genuine Rolex, and you are a licensed agent for Rolex. Hell, you’re an expert on Rolexes!"

The agent then gives you what will be his legal defence for selling you a fake Rolex. He tells you, "well I was fooled as well. I also thought the Rolex was genuine, otherwise I would not have charged you 20 grand." He is of course telling you this because he believes that will absolve him of liability.

The same defence may be mounted by a car dealer who sells you a wound car with a warning on the window, but stay with me on the watch analogy for a moment.

In any reasonable circumstance, an expert jeweller who places a warning doubting the authenticity of a watch he offers for sale should reflect that doubt in a much lower sale price. What’s more the jeweller must have reasonable grounds for believing that it is a fake.[author’s emphasis].

If he states that the forgery was good enough to fool him then why did he place a warning on the Rolex in the first place? What reasonable grounds did he have for issuing the warning? The reasonable grounds must be prior knowledge that it was a fake. What other reasonable grounds could there be?

In any case, the jeweller has charged you a price that you as a consumer would expect to pay if the Rolex were genuine. But of course the Rolex is a fake and he is guilty of deception. End of story.

If it is later found that the jeweller has been selling hundreds of fake watches for massive profits then the criminal intent is proven and the warning is, in itself, an admission.

How is it an admission? Because by issuing a warning to avoid civil liability, the jeweller is showing that he has good cause to believe he is selling a fake. Selling a fake at a genuine price, without disclosing to the buyer his strong suspicions about the watch in question, shows the jeweller has now formed criminal intent to deceive, and deception is the central element of fraud.

If he is guilty of fraud at a criminal level, then all the warnings in the world won’t save the jeweller from civil liability either.

A warning, then, can be a double-edged sword for a retailer. If used properly, the warning is a perfectly acceptable sales device. It might be applied to damaged or defective goods, for example. But an honest retailer always passes on the benefit of the doubt. Defective goods are sold at a discount, like clothes sold as seconds.

Exactly the same principle applies when buying a used Japanese imported car.

But let’s go back for a moment to the MVDI’s warning, the one you see on most car window cards that says the odometer reading of the vehicle may be incorrect.

Under the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act, the car dealer must have reasonable grounds to suspect odometer tampering before he can issue the warning. [author’s emphasis].

In other words, the dealer – an expert in the eyes of the law under the Fair Trading Act – must have pretty strong reasons to believe that the vehicle has been flicked, before he’s allowed to issue the warning.

Having issued the warning, one would then expect the price of the vehicle concerned to drop several thousand dollars to reflect that suspicion. But it does not.

Instead, the car dealer continues to offer the car at the same price as a genuine one, even though it may have travelled 100,000 kilometres more! This is where the fraudulent intent comes in. The dealer is intending to get a genuine price for something he believes is dodgy.

The buyer is deceived. The car looks like it’s only travelled 50,000 kilometres. In fact it looks in identical nick to the NZ-original car beside it that’s done a genuine 50,000 k’s, and it’s priced exactly the same.

Both cars are carrying the odometer warning, even though car B was sold new in NZ. In fact, every car in the yard is carrying the warning. The car buyer is being given no clues. He or she buys the wound vehicle that’s done 150,000 kilometres, but is paying $10,000 too much.

By placing the warning on vehicles unlikely to have been clocked, one could argue the dealer has increased the deception by making it harder for the customer to distinguish fact from fake.

Go back to the Rolex analogy. If the jeweller was selling 20 Rolexes, and the warning was only on one, the buyer would:

be unlikely to purchase that particular watch, and

be put on notice that he or she should ask questions about that particular watch.

If the Rolex agent had placed the warning on every single watch, knowing that only one was fake but not wanting to draw attention to it, then that would amount to "deceptive and misleading conduct" under the terms of the Fair Trading Act. Fraud.

You don’t venture into a Cartier shop, for example, expecting 80% of their diamond rings to be made of zirconia. No matter how many buyer beware signs might be on the door. And if Cartier inadvertently sold you a zirconia for $20,000, you would expect them to refund you, wouldn’t you? You wouldn’t expect them to say "Tough luck – you should have read the warning!"

But this is exactly what many New Zealand car dealers did. They placed warnings on all their vehicles, even the ones that weren’t clocked, trying to exempt themselves from civil liability but arguably putting themselves in the gun at a criminal level.

Although Japanese imports had been a growth industry since 1987, it wasn’t until 1994 that dealers began carpet-bombing every vehicle with window cards warning that the odometer reading might be incorrect.

The dealers were effectively saying to car buyers "I don’t know if this car’s odometer has been rewound; it may well be, but I am going to sell it to you at a price that assumes the mileage is genuine."

But hang on a minute, you ask. What about the car dealer who is buying cars in good faith, either from wholesale importers or as ordinary trade-ins? Surely these dealers are not committing fraud by using window card warnings? How are these dealers supposed to know whether a vehicle has been wound or not?

It’s a fair point, and it is easily answered. In law, the car dealer is deemed to be an "expert", with the skill to recognise the signs or likelihood of winding, and the resources to have it confirmed or refuted. Where a car is coming as a trade-in, the cost of getting an odometer report, for a couple of hundred dollars, could be built into the deal.

This dealer still has to have "reasonable grounds" to place an odometer warning on the window card under the terms of sections 90(2)(d) and (3)(d) of the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act 1975.

If those "reasonable grounds" exist, then the dealer should be telling prospective buyers what those grounds for suspicion are, and lowering the price commensurately.

Putting a warning on in a bid to avoid civil liability, whilst also asking the same price as a genuine mileage vehicle, is a bid by the dealer to have cake and eat it and, in the eyes of the law, it is illegal.

If the dealer was unwittingly sold a wound car by a wholesale importer, then the dealer should refund the retail customer and lodge his own claim against the wholesaler under the Fair Trading Act.

I believe the dealer’s warning on odometer authenticity is a clear breach of the New Zealand Fair Trading Act 1986 and the Consumer Guarantees Act. Both of these Acts ban any trade that may be misleading or deceptive to the consumer.

But there was a problem with using these Acts to get refunds on odometer fraud. Under these two Acts, the burden of proof falls on the customer. Consumers would have to provide proof of the winding, proof that would stand up in a court of law. In the absence of proof no consumer could expect to get their money back.

If the cars were coming into New Zealand stripped of all documentation, how could a consumer ever hope to prove their case? The dealers thought they were safe, and were winding cars like there was no tomorrow, making huge profits at the expense of the New Zealand consumer.

Little wonder that Japanese car imports were at record levels — up to 85,000 vehicles a year. Those figures told me that a huge number of New Zealand car dealers were in on the fraud.

In that climate it was impossible to trade honestly and be competitive. I will give you an example of what I mean. Let’s say you are an honest car dealer and you go to Japan to import cars into New Zealand. You buy a car with genuine mileage for a million yen or about $NZ14,000.

Your competitor, who is into winding, buys the same model car that looks genuine but with high mileage on the speedo. He only pays 400,000 yen or about $NZ5,500 — not even half the price you paid.

Both cars are shipped back to New Zealand and sold for the same price to New Zealand consumers. Because of the price you paid for the car in Japan you will only make about $2,000 profit on the sale, but your competitor will make between 10 and 12 grand. There is no way known that you can be competitive. If he makes that kind of profit on 20 cars he will put you out of business unless you join him and start winding cars.

The minute those 20 wound cars arrived in New Zealand your competitor picked up equity, an amazing amount of equity — at least $200,000 in equity, and he hasn’t had to lift a finger. Little wonder odometer fraud was such an attractive crime. It was and is a licence to print money.

One final postscript on the odometer warning. From my experience as a car salesman, New Zealand consumers, like consumers everywhere else in the world, buy the best car for the best price. The average New Zealand car buyer believes he or she can tell whether or not a car has had its speedo rewound. But the biggest judgment they make is on the price of the car. If the dealer is asking genuine money for a wound car the consumer will think the car is genuine and pay the price. Why? Because the price reflects the car’s value, not just its cost.

You must remember that almost every Japanese imported car offered for sale in New Zealand is stripped of any documentation that might give some indication of how many genuine kilometres it has travelled. So the consumer will bite the bullet and simply trust the dealer. They might ask the dealer to give a guarantee, which is usually verbal, that to the best of the dealer’s knowledge the car is genuine. Of course the car dealer is going to say yes. To say anything else would be admitting to fraud.

As I said earlier, there is another very important point about that warning that you need to grasp. The Motor Vehicle Dealers Act 1975 dictates that the dealer must have "reasonable grounds" for believing that the car’s odometer has been wound back before being able to use and rely on that warning which says "Warning: odometer reading may be incorrect".

The price must reflect the dealer’s "reasonable grounds" for thinking that the car’s speedo may have been rewound. He can’t charge genuine money for a car he thinks may have been wound.

I can’t stress this point enough, because it is central to any claim you may later have against a dealer who is attempting to use a window-card warning against you:

If two otherwise identical vehicles, one clocked and one genuine, are both carrying odometer warning cards and being offered at the same price, then the car dealer is already in breach of the Fair Trading Act and the Consumer Guarantees Act, because the price is clearly based on the odometer reading, despite the warnings.

The Fair Trading Act says:

"…No person shall in trade, in connection with the supply or possible supply of goods or services or with the promotion by any means of the supply or use of the goods or services (a) falsely represent that goods are of a particular kind, standard, quality, grade, composition, style or model or have had a particular history or particular previous use…

"(g) Make a false or misleading representation with respect to the price of any goods."

The Consumer Guarantees Act says:

"…where goods are supplied by description to a consumer, there is a guarantee that the goods correspond with the description."

To give you an example, reasonable grounds for placing a warning on the window card would be:

1) a Japanese manufacturer’s warranty database showing that some years prior the vehicle had travelled a great many more kilometres; or that its average annual mileage at that time would suggest, along with the condition of the vehicle, that the mileage was substantially higher than the current odometer reading

2) a logbook or oil service sticker attached to, or located in, the vehicle that indicated the same

3) general mechanical wear and tear

4) an odometer technician’s report on the condition of the odometer.

If none of those grounds exists then there would be no reason to suspect a car was wound and no reason to use a warning. [author’s emphasis]. So it follows that the warning would only be placed on cars that satisfied the criteria of reasonable grounds: "…where there are reasonable grounds to believe that the odometer reading of the motor vehicle may not be correct."

So let’s reflect for a moment on what we’ve covered.

The Motor Vehicle Dealers Act 1975, section 90(3)(d) says a warning can only be used where a dealer has good reason to suspect the odometer reading really is incorrect.

The Fair Trading Act 1986 says that where a dealer is sufficiently concerned to use the warning, the reasons for issuing it must be revealed to the potential buyer.

That the window card warning may be contractually ineffective if it is not matched by a price drop to reflect the possible tampering.

That dealers who place warnings on all their vehicles, rather than just those they suspect have been tampered with, may be attempting to deceive customers fraudulently.

Finally, in this chapter, let’s briefly examine why we should care whether a vehicle odometer has been wound or not. The attitude of some people is that Japanese imports have brought prices down whilst upgrading the standard of the NZ vehicle fleet. Cars now have features like air conditioning and electric windows as standard.

This is true, but this is only one side of the equation. The other is this: at what cost?

One cost has clearly been the jobs of workers in the local car assembly industry, and the manufacturing support industries. Our taxes must now support their rehabilitation.

A direct cost to the motorist is this, however: If you are being charged $20,000 dollars for a $10,000 vehicle, then that is ten thousand dollars that has been taken out of your income and given to a car dealer. Perhaps you are being charged interest on a hire purchase loan for the vehicle. What would your payments be if you’d only had to borrow a couple of thousand dollars, not $12,000?

Perhaps, instead of making large car payments, you or your family could be holidaying on the Gold Coast or Disneyland, or you might have purchased a boat or a lounge and dining suite. Get the picture?

I’ll make it even simpler.

A car dealer purchases a six year old 4WD at a Japanese auction. The 4WD has done a genuine 140,000 kilometres. The car dealer pays $5,300 for the car, which includes the cost of shipping it to New Zealand. He will pay $1,500 in import tariffs when it arrives on the wharf in Auckland, and he’s arranged to have its speedo flicked back to 50,000 kilometres.

That 4WD should retail for about $14,000 given its genuine mileage. Instead, the dealer is asking $24,000 for it.

You have a trade-in, a car now worth $7,000, just half what you paid for it 18 months earlier. You use it as the deposit, and finance the remaining $17,000 over three years at 17%. That’s $5,780 in interest you’re paying out on top of the 17 grand – a total cost of nearly $23,000 at $630 a month for three years, and a total price for the vehicle of $30,000.

Now look at the real cost of the car, and its real condition, and its real retail value.

Suppose you buy it for $14,000 with your $7,000 trade-in and the balance over 36 months as well. Your interest cost will be $2,380, and your repayments will be $260 a month.

Now look at some below the line costs, such as maintenance. If you purchased the wound car, you’ll have no service records and no idea that your engine is a lot more worn out than you realise.

Your cam belt could break in a month’s time, costing you thousands of dollars in repairs and wasted time.

If you purchased the 4WD in original condition, with full papers, you’ll know that it’s time for a service, and you’ll know what to expect.

And what about depreciation?

At the end of three years, you’ve travelled a further 60,000 kilometres. If you purchased the wound vehicle, your odometer now shows 110,000 k’s. Your 4WD is now nine years old. It is worth perhaps $11,000 retail, maybe $8,500 as a trade. Remember, you paid a total of $29,780 for it, including interest. You have just lost up to $21,000.

If you bought the genuine mileage 4WD, its odometer now shows 200,000 k’s. It is worth $7,995 retail, perhaps $5,500 to $6,000 trade.

Assuming the worst, you lost $10,880 on that deal.

And then the cycle begins again. Buyer One purchases another clocked vehicle and sets themselves up to pay the dealer and the finance company more hard-earned wages.

Buyer Two purchases another genuine mileage vehicle and loses commensurately less money. After three or four cars, Buyer One has probably lost enough money to pay off his or her mortgage.

But it’s all worth it, right? You’re not really worried about the odometer tampering thing, because these days you’re buying a better class of car than you could once have afforded.

In the meantime, it’s the car dealers who go to the French Riviera, the Swiss Alps and Monaco each year for their holidays.
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#31 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 09:33 PM

Phone Tapping Bombshell article Investigate Magazine August 2009 pages 26-31

http://issuu.com/iwi...gate/1?mode=a_p

What we would like to know is who are the former Police who perfed and are now Security Consultants that are employed with phone companies and in conttact with Government Communications Security Bureau?


http://www.gcsb.govt.nz/

Do they have licenses granted to them like Private Investigators do?
If so, have their background checks and references previously provided when licences were granted been rechecked after the resignation of Auckland District Court registrar Gary Harrison who is implicated in Private Investigators having had their licenses allegedly "rubber-stamped"?

What information has Mr Dermott Nottingham obtained that may compromise other people's personal safety as a direct result of this Phone tapping bombshell investigation, which he has been a party to?

Is there information that he & his associates, including Earle "Robert" McKinney a business associate (?), with his histories should not perhaps never have had access to?

Miles Dixon, who is quoted in this Investigate Magazine article, history includes:

Student at Casebrook Intermediate School, Christchurch
(The same school Nottingham family member/s are understood to have attended).


Mark also known as Antony Nottingham - Row2, 6th from right.

Casebrook Intermediate school 1978

http://www.oldfriend...w.aspx?id=44046

Miles Dixon Third from left, back row.

http://www.oldfriend...w.aspx?id=57800

Row 2, 4th from left

http://www.oldfriend...w.aspx?id=71908

http://www.casebrook.school.nz/

Papanui High school, back row, 2nd from left - note surname is spelt incorrectly.
http://www.oldfriend....aspx?id=115131

http://www.comcom.go...hieldpleadsgui1

http://www.business....y=Miles%20DIXON

http://www.kiwibiker...hp/t-61859.html

http://home.nzcity.c...d=33878&cat=975

http://www.mvp.co.nz...al1streport.pdf

Would this be considered to have been a breach of various Laws to conduct an investigation in such a manner?

Or a serious security risk?


http://www.police.govt.nz

http://www.police.go...ised_crime.html

http://www.ofcanz.govt.nz/

http://www.gcsb.govt.nz/

http://www.legislati...test/whole.html

See also post #35
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#32 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 10:18 PM

How many different email addresses does this chap Dermot/t (Greg/ory) Nottingham have and use?

What is the correct number of criminal convictions that he has?


One article (see post #29 http://www.vdig.net/...&d=03&o=32&p=45 ;
http://www.vdig.net/...&d=03&o=46&p=72 ) says he has 17 Criminal Convictions, this article says up to December 1991 that he had 39 Criminal convictions.

Does his "associate" Earle "Robert" McKinney have any Criminal convictions?

http://www.legislati.../DLM417078.html

SUNDAY STAR TIMES, 5 OCT 2003, Edition A, Page 3.

Judge followed and filmed by irked claimant

By: FISHER David

Footage to be posted on `whistleblower' site

--------------------

[email protected]

A HIGH COURT judge faces police questions after being followed by a disaffected litigant who videotaped him driving on the wrong side of the road.

Self-styled justice campaigner Dermot Nottingham made a complaint to police after he watched Justice Tony Randerson's blue Toyota Camry cross the centre line of a suburban Auckland street.

Nottingham captured the image of the judge's car crossing the line after following him across town and to his home. He told the Sunday Star-Times he was following the judge as part of an investigation to support his submission that the judge should not have handled the odometer tampering case.

Nottingham
plans to print the findings of the investigation on a new website - www.whistleblower.co.nz - next weekend. He would also place the videotape and photographs on the site.

Nottingham said the website would be used to expose injustice. The email address Nottingham plans to use on the website is judgehunter @whistleblower.co.nz.

Nottingham said other images he claimed showed Randerson speeding and failing to indicate would also be placed on the internet.

Raynor Asher
, president of the Auckland District Law Society, said he was concerned that Nottingham - who has a criminal record - was following a judge and using the "judgehunter" email address.

"I find it very disturbing. Justice Randerson is the executive judge at Auckland now. He is regarded by the profession as an exemplar.

"I am appalled to hear that Nottingham is doing that. It is disturbing to see judges being subjected to that sort of harassment - and I regard it as harassment."

According to a list tabled in parliament in 1997, up to December 1991, Nottingham had 39 convictions, including theft, burglary, wilful damage, assault, assaulting a traffic officer, unlawfully interfering with a motor vehicle and 24 charges brought by the Inland Revenue Department.


Nottingham said he had been wrongly convicted "numerous times". He also said there was no reason for anyone to have concerns about his following a judge and he was adamant he was no danger to Randerson or any other judge.

"I have never threatened any judicial officer (and) never been considered a threat to any judicial officer," Nottingham wrote to the Star-Times.

A letter detailing the complaint had been delivered to the judge. Randerson found against Nottingham in an appeal court hearing in 2000.

Police confirmed receipt of Nottingham's complaint. A spokeswoman at police headquarters in Wellington said there was an obligation to investigate complaints.

The complaint was sent to the police in Wellington under the Community Roadwatch scheme. Nottingham sent it with a detailed written complaint, signed by Whistleblower's managing editor Earle McKinney.

In the complaint, McKinney refers to the case of Ding Yan Zhao, 19, who was jailed for two years and disqualified from driving for five years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving causing the death of Georgia McCarten-Graham, aged 4. Justice Randerson halved Zhao's sentence because of a $40,000 payment his family offered as reparations.

Part: A
Section: NEWS
Sub-Section: NATIONAL
Topics: LEGAL PROFESSIONS ; POLICE METHODS ; INFORMATION SERVICES
Sub-Topics: AUCKLAND CITY
Biography: NOTTINGHAM Dermot
) Fairfax Sunday Newspapers, Copyright of Fairfax New Zealand Limited 2003, All rights reserved.
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#33 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 10:22 PM

http://accforum.org/...ott-nottingham/

http://accforum.org/...742#entry121742
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#34 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 09:40 PM

RE POST #32 Phone Tapping article Investigate Magazine

Were Dermot Nottingham & his associates entitled under New Zealand Laws to undertake what he did according to what is written in the Investigate magazine without a Lawfully appropriate qualification or a Search Warrant?

What other information did he at the time, & subsequently (if he/they did) obtain without appropriate qualifications or a Search Warrant?

Who has copies of the said DVD?

We understand that neither he, nor those whom we understand may be his associates are either members of the NZ Police http://www.police.govt.nz or a registered Private Investigator
http://www.justice.g.../pisg-registers in accordance with New Zealand Laws.

Perhaps there is more to this than meets the eye.


http://www.legislati....html#DLM314010

http://www.legislati...ddocuments.aspx

http://www.legislati.../DLM314014.html

http://privacy.org.n...ters/#container
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#35 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 12:45 PM

How many staff and associates does he have assisting him to conduct these "investigations"?

What communications equipment & type of, e.g internet compatible mobile phones, computers etc do they have?


Quote from post # 21:a minimum of 3 computer in the office, and also 2 cellphones all internet capable!

why is Dermott Notttigham on Laudafinums youtube site?

scan and delete all temp files, and use your inprivate web browser...
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#36 User is offline   Deus ex machina 

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 07:33 PM

Looks like Nottingham is disagreeable in many spheres of his life, litigous should be his middle name.



Source: Sunday Star-Times, May 24, 1998, pg. A7

Quote

Car Wars leads to fall-out
Phil TAYLOR

ANTI-CLOCKING campaigner Dermot Nottingham has fallen out with the publisher of a book about his campaign and is trying to stop it being published.
Mr Nottingham says the book, Car Wars: the odometer fraud expose, and how to get your money back, has been hi-jacked. The book is almost written and publisher Howling at the Moon hopes to have it in shops next month.
However, Mr Nottingham says he will seek a court injunction this week to stop publication.
Publisher Ian Wishart said there was no attempt to take Mr Nottingham "out of the loop". Although he had contributed little to the writing of the book they still wanted him involved and were happy for him to share the royalties, which he had agreed to split equally with co-author Damien Comerford, a 60 Minutes TV director.
In what appears to be a battle over control of the story, Mr Nottingham says he has not signed a publishing contract and considers the book incomplete. Also, he wanted to add chapters and did not want Mr Comerford, as a ghost-writer, to share a byline on the cover.
Mr Nottingham said the book was the story of his campaign, relied on his ideas and his documents. "It's my book; they've nicked it," he said.
Mr Wishart said Mr Nottingham had wanted to insert chapters "attacking various individuals, companies and law firms that we felt were not relevant to the story overall".
Mr Nottingham had also wanted publication delayed by several months.
It was fair for Mr Comerford's byline to be on the book. "Dermot, at this stage, has not written a word of it," said Mr Wishart.

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#37 User is offline   not their victim 

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 08:32 AM

copied from post 31 above

""In 1992 I ended up in Australia. I was in pretty bad physical shape, eating bad food and drinking to excess. My weight had ballooned to 21 stone. I was acting as if I had a death wish. But I met a Scottish girl and fell in love. She put me on the straight and narrow. I became fit, lost a lot of weight and was happy for the first time in my life. I was selling new and used cars in Australia. Then I decided to move to Scotland and live with my girlfriend, which was an experience in itself.

I was held for seven hours at London’s Gatwick Airport under the British Prevention of Terrorism Act.

I’ve been called a lot of things in my life but no one has ever called me a terrorist. It seems there is some kind of data entry on my passport which pops up every time I leave New Zealand. I can only speculate that it relates to something in my past. A past, I might add, which relates to my time as a juvenile. There have been one or two convictions for assault in later life. But there is nothing, I repeat, nothing, in my criminal past that would warrant me being detained for seven hours as a suspected terrorist. They finally let me into the United Kingdom and I spent one year in Scotland, which was a hard slog, before returning to Australia.""

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actually, if he did the investigation, put in all the leg work, was working in the industry and DID not partake in shonky practise, and then released details to the media under agreement,

does not mean that the media should have the rights to use the information/material he gathered and ghost write it into a book!

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copied from post 37
""Mr Nottingham said the book was the story of his campaign, relied on his ideas and his documents. "It's my book; they've nicked it," he said.

Mr Wishart said Mr Nottingham had wanted to insert chapters "attacking various individuals, companies and law firms that we felt were not relevant to the story overall".""

and its the agressive stance, towards other people, who may/may not have been directly involved, that leads people AWAY from the Dermott.
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there is a difference between justice and revenge...justice will make friends, revenge will gather enemies
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#38 User is offline   Deus ex machina 

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 07:32 AM

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The Customs Service, with its many responsibilities elsewhere, created importing delays and pleased absolutely no one except perhaps the criminal Dermot Nottingham, whom Mr Duynhoven seems to hold up as a paragon of virtue---a man who is trying to do for the car industry what the Boston Strangler did for door-to-door salesmen.


Quote

Most of the evidence comes from one Nottingham and his brother, who have been active in this business for some time. Most of the evidence that I have seen, and most of the evidence that I know Mr Duynhoven has, has come from those sources, has been aided and abetted by those two brothers. If that is the evidence being put before the House, I say it is absolutely questionable. Indeed, if it is the only evidence those members have, I have to say it is shonky.


Quote

Evidence is being brought to this House from somebody who in 1978 was apprehended for theft, for unlawful interference, for burglary. In 1980 he was arrested for wilful damage. In 1983 he was arrested for fighting in a public place. In 1985 he was arrested for refusing to accompany an officer, using insulting language, and assaulting a traffic officer. He has been arrested for common assault and the discharge of a firearm in a public place. The list goes on and on. If the evidence comes from that person, then I have to say it is pretty questionable. If that is the material being put before this House as conclusive evidence, I have to say those members ought to think again. The Labour Party ought to think twice.
There is odometer fraud---there is absolutely no question about that---but we had better ask ourselves why it is being peddled out there. Mr Dermot Nottingham is proposing to be part of a company set up to be in charge of all cars introduced into New Zealand, so that he can have a financial stake. He wants to be the only person who introduces those cars. He wants to have a cut. Members of the Labour Party are putting forward evidence from that gentleman. They are proposing that it is substantial and that this House ought to reflect on it. I have to say: ``Think again.''


Quote

I would also like to raise an issue that ACT, in its attempts to justify this fraud, is attempting to discredit Mr Nottingham and the evidence he has brought before us.
Hon. Richard Prebble: What does the member mean ``attempting''? The guy is a crook!

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#39 User is offline   Deus ex machina 

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 06:29 AM

http://www.investiga...html&lang=en-gb


View Posthukildaspida, on 04 January 2012 - 08:56 PM, said:

http://www.investiga...docs/carxtr.htm



Chapter 1 FAST REWIND

It is the biggest fraud in this country’s history, a deception that even the Serious Fraud Office estimates is at least $768 million. Forget about $768 million. I know for a fact it is more like two billion dollars. Yes, two billion dollars. Let me explain. Six hundred thousand imported second hand Japanese cars have come into New Zealand. If you accept that at least 70 percent of that number had wound odometers, then 400,000 wound cars were purchased by New Zealand consumers. The average price paid would have been about $15,000. Given that a third of that value is fraudulent then each transaction would have resulted in a $5000 fraud. Multiply those 400,000 wound cars by $5000 and you get some idea of the size of this fraud.

Just remember those numbers when the Government tells you that you have been lucky enough to buy cheap cars. But what has passed is not as important as what lies ahead. This fraud cannot be allowed to continue and believe me it is continuing. The National Government has refused to hold an inquiry into odometer fraud. I believe this book is that inquiry. The National Party doesn’t want to have an inquiry because it knows where it would lead. The fall of the Government.

The answer to odometer fraud lies with the next Government. It can be stopped almost immediately. I recently went to Japan with Labour Transport spokesman Harry Duynhoven and in the space of four days we established that all New Zealand car buyers can access papers showing the previous ownership of their imported vehicle in Japan. And they should not be surprised if their luxury import was previously used as a taxi or by a sales representative and more than likely travelled three times the distance disclosed on the odometer when it was imported into New Zealand. You should be saying to yourself why didn’t the importer or car dealer in New Zealand access these papers when he bought the car in Japan? This book will tell you how easy it is for a dealer to guarantee mileage on all imports or historically prove that the mileage was genuine. And how the Government had the power to make him do this from day one but didn’t.

But first, a little background: The used car importation came about partly by accident and partly by design. The Labour Government, in its pursuit of deregulation, had left open a loophole big enough to drive an imported truck through, specifically relating to baggage brought in by travellers.

It had long been a perk that New Zealanders who’d spent more than six months overseas could bring back a vehicle as "baggage" without incurring the full whack of duty and taxes that cars sold in NZ attracted.

Somehow, the loophole lessened the six month time requirement, and all of a sudden holidaymakers were coming home from a week in Tokyo, not with Louis Vuitton but with Lexus as "hand luggage".

Sensing an opportunity, enterprising car dealers – many of the backyard variety – got into the act, and took tour groups over to Japan for "weekend holidays", whereupon they all arrived back with suitcases capable of doing zero to sixty in around eight seconds.

In the early days of such imports it was Mazda RX7s – the series 1 model – that were capturing the hearts of buyers. Because of Japan’s stringent vehicle fitness laws (which probably owed their existence to a backroom deal between the Japanese Government and the carmakers to force people to buy new cars) that made it expensive to keep cars more than five years old on the road, near-new vehicles were gathering dust in Japan.

Well, they were "near-new" in New Zealand terms. This country’s vehicle fleet, like Australia’s, was old. With prices for new vehicles extremely high because of the local assembly industry, it was economic to keep maintaining older vehicles, and a fifteen year old Holden Kingswood could still fetch six or seven thousand dollars on the NZ market – double that if it was a customised V8.

Secondhand series 1 RX7’s, which had been selling for $16,000 to $20,000 in the late 80’s, were being purchased for a song as deregistered vehicles in Japan and imported to New Zealand.

So, when travellers found they could travel to Japan for a weekend, purchase an RX7 for $4,000, ship it back and still have change out of a tenner, it was all on.

As the trickle of motorised luggage became a rush hour, car manufacturers in New Zealand and Licensed Motor Vehicle Dealers called for the baggage loophole to be closed. And so it was.

But the bright ideas brigade could still smell profits. The prices in Japan were so cheap, that even if you imported the cars and paid full duty, you’d still make a profit selling them in New Zealand. What’s more, the Japanese vehicles came with much higher equipment and cabin specification than the locally assembled NZ equivalent.

Where the Japanese import had air conditioning, the NZ car had windows. Where the Japanese import had electric windows, the NZ car had, well, just windows. You’ve probably got the picture.

So, instead of acting as travel guides and charging a fee to car-buying holidaymakers, many of the early pioneers became full time importers. They organised shipments of cars themselves, paid the duty, and flogged them off at various locations around the country.

Again, the car industry, both new and secondhand, cried foul. But this time the Government wasn’t in the mood to listen. Why? Possibly because the sudden rush of imported cars was being matched by an increase in tariff receipts and import GST for the Government revenue, but also because the imports were acting as a deflationary pressure by bringing car prices down.

"This time," said the Government to the industry, "You’re on your own!"

Initially used car dealers sneered at the imports, and refused to sell them or trade them in. Nor could the owner of an imported vehicle always find parts. The Japanese domestic market had been largely used as a testing ground for many bizarre vehicle models. A Toyota Corona might mean one thing to a New Zealander, and something totally different to a Tokyo driver.

To beat the parts cartel – the New Zealand dealers refusing to stock parts for the imports – importers and importing dealers set up their own parts supply chain direct from Japan.

Suddenly the kiwi consumer had choice: the chance to buy NZ made, or higher spec’ed and cheaper imports. For the first time in both cases, supply of parts and service was assured.

Pretty soon the barriers crumbled, and everyone was in on the act. The reality is car dealers have always wound the speedos on vehicles imported from Japan and the reason is greed. The margins are so good. To be competitive you had to be a winder simply because everyone was doing it.

Now they could buy the cheapest Japanese cars at auction, those with 150,000 k’s on the clock, for perhaps $1,500 to $3,000. After arranging to have the odometer rewound to 60,000 k’s, the vehicle was suddenly more valuable, increasing the dealer’s margin.

Since 1987, more than 600,000 imported Japanese cars have come into New Zealand. As you will see later in this book, Government and industry officials estimate up to 70 or 80% of those imports would have had their speedos rewound. So that is 400,000 to 500,000 vehicles.

If you multiply all of those cars by an average fiddle of $5,000, you are beginning to get some idea of just how big a crime this is.

Don’t be blown away by the figures and don’t for one moment think that you as a consumer can’t get your money back if you bought a wound car. You can and I have — got refunds on behalf of ripped-off car buyers. At last count I had negotiated one million dollars worth of refunds for New Zealand consumers who bought wound cars, by getting a number of cheating licensed motor vehicle dealers to pay up. That is no mean feat. Getting a refund out of a car dealer is a bit like getting blood out of a stone, only harder.

New Zealand consumers need to understand this is a fraud that is shameless and breathtakingly simple. Winding back a car odometer in the trade is known as flicking — giving the car a haircut. This crime is oh so simple. It’s not some complex accounting procedure that involves two dollar Cook Island companies or a "bottom of the harbour" bank account. I’m talking about something as basic as removing the speedo and using a screwdriver to wind back the tumblers, wiping out 60,000, 80,000, 100,000 or more kilometres, all of which happens in Japan for a very small fee soon after the car is sold at auction.

The car arrives in New Zealand but instead of the speedo showing the true mileage it has miraculously travelled backwards. Of course when the New Zealand importer bought the car in Japan the price he paid reflected the true speedo reading. If the car had travelled a high number of kilometres it would have been a cheap buy. But by the time the dealer/importer sells the car to an unsuspecting New Zealand consumer, who thinks the rewound mileage is genuine, the dealer has made $5,000 to $10,000 or more in profit.

Believe me, these New Zealand winders were greedy, and Japanese car agents were more than happy to do the winding for their Kiwi clients. All they had to do was ask.

You see, the New Zealand National Government would have you believe that the flood of Japanese imports has meant that New Zealand consumers have been able to buy cheap cars.

This is only partly true: the cars are cheaper than they used to be, but not as cheap as they should be. If New Zealand Customs had done its job and cracked down on this fraud, those "cheap" cars would have cost a lot less. You would be getting value for money instead of lining the pockets of unscrupulous car dealers.

There are two predominant reasons why a businessperson commits white collar crime: high returns and low risk. Essentially white collar crime is purely a business decision. White collar criminals are looking for an advantage over a competitor. In business, the only unfair advantage is one you do not have. Consequently odometer fraud is a crime that occurred almost every time an average New Zealander bought a used Japanese imported car.

Not all car dealers are fraudsters, but those who masterminded these schemes have gone on to make millions. It’s a fraud that begs so many questions, a crime the so-called Serious Fraud Office not only knows about but can prove in a court of law. I know they can because I know they have the evidence.

An SFO investigator travelled to Japan after my brother Phil told him what evidence to get and where to get it. The evidence was good enough to take away a car dealer’s licence, yet to date the SFO has done nothing, prosecuted no one. The question is "Why?" I hope to be able to answer that question.

This is a fraud the government knew about but turned a blind eye to, a fraud that in my view was aided and abetted by the New Zealand Customs Service, the only organisation in this country that had the power to stop it at the border. Why Customs did nothing, and make no mistake they knew it was happening, is a question every New Zealander is entitled to ask and have answered. As far as I am concerned it was either incompetence or corruption or both. But more on that later.

In the course of the next 260 pages or so, you will discover the following:

That contrary to what a dealer may tell you, the burden of proof on odometer fraud rests with dealers on all cars imported between mid-1991 and April 1998, under the terms of the law at the time.

That contrary to what a dealer may tell you, a window card warning of possible odometer inaccuracy is not necessarily sufficient to get dealers off the hook legally.

That all cars sold at auction in Japan are required by local law to have full documentation on service history and genuine mileage.

That the failure or refusal of a New Zealand dealer or importer to produce these auction sheets on request may be indicative of odometer tampering with intent.

That the Serious Fraud Office had sufficient evidence to lay criminal charges, but at date of going to press, had failed to do so.

That the fraud, in itself, is simple. If a dealer has enough cause to put a warning on a car he believes is suspect, then under the Fair Trading Act’s deceptive conduct provisions he should also reduce the price to reflect that doubt, in the same way that factory "seconds" are cheaper. It is the asking of a genuine price for a car carrying a warning that is fraudulent, because it lulls the buyer into thinking that the warning is only cosmetic.

I blew the whistle on this fraud. I ratted on the winders in the car industry — the ones that I knew about — and I make no apologies. Instead of beating them I could have joined them — become a winder — and I have no doubt I would have made millions.

That is not an idle boast. I was a millionaire at the age of 22. Believe me, winding cars in this country has been more profitable than drug dealing.


Chapter 2 WARNING! WARNING!


After a brief sojourn into property development, which made us and then lost us millions, we desperately needed to make a quid. Phil and I were good salesmen so we both decided to get into the car trade. That’s what makes me so angry about the whole issue of odometer fraud. I know that if the used car trade in New Zealand operated on a level playing field, in other words if car salesmen and women relied on their own abilities to sell cars instead of winding back speedos and ripping off consumers, then Phil and I would be making a good living. We are good at selling cars. The New Zealand used car industry is not a level playing field; it has been full of winders.

My first job in the car trade was with Chris Stephens Motors in Auckland. I sold three cars the first day on the job. I broke the yard’s sales records. In one weekend I made $44,000 in profit for Chris Stephens. That made him one very happy man. He was prepared to do anything to keep me selling cars. He paid all of the legal bills to get me approved as a car salesman. But Chris Stephens and I had a bit of a falling out and I decided to move on.

In 1992 I ended up in Australia. I was in pretty bad physical shape, eating bad food and drinking to excess. My weight had ballooned to 21 stone. I was acting as if I had a death wish. But I met a Scottish girl and fell in love. She put me on the straight and narrow. I became fit, lost a lot of weight and was happy for the first time in my life. I was selling new and used cars in Australia. Then I decided to move to Scotland and live with my girlfriend, which was an experience in itself.

I was held for seven hours at London’s Gatwick Airport under the British Prevention of Terrorism Act.


I’ve been called a lot of things in my life but no one has ever called me a terrorist. It seems there is some kind of data entry on my passport which pops up every time I leave New Zealand. I can only speculate that it relates to something in my past. A past, I might add, which relates to my time as a juvenile. There have been one or two convictions for assault in later life. But there is nothing, I repeat, nothing, in my criminal past that would warrant me being detained for seven hours as a suspected terrorist. They finally let me into the United Kingdom and I spent one year in Scotland, which was a hard slog, before returning to Australia.

In Sydney I was reunited with my brother Phil and we both got jobs back in the car trade. In 1996 I went to work for Eastwood Honda. Australians have a love affair with Honda cars. They are expensive cars brand new; even used Hondas attract a premium price. Eastwood Honda was a dealership that sold new and used cars. The Branch Manager had a demonstration Honda Accord which he used as his company car. Now when you are in the car trade for any length of time you get to know cars inside and out. Call it a sixth sense: you know if a car has been wound or not. I was suspicious of the cars on the Eastwood Honda lot.

Odometer fraud is virtually unheard of in Australia. The Australians have very tough consumer laws and the Aussies are less than tolerant when it comes to the consumer being ripped off.

Anyway, the Branch Manager put an advertisement in the newspaper offering the demonstration Honda for sale at a very cheap price. A potential car buyer rang up that morning and came down to have a look at the car. It was my job to take him for a test drive. So I went to the Branch Manager’s office and grabbed the keys to the Honda Accord. As I was leaving the Branch Manager, who was a guy called Ray Smith, rushed out of his office and chased after me. He said, Dermot, I have got to start the car for you. I thought, that sounds pretty strange. I have had a driver’s licence since the age of 15; I think I know how to start a car.

We both walked over to the car and he opened the driver’s door, reached under the dash and flipped the tiniest of switches, barely visible to the naked eye. He saw the quizzical look on my face and said oh, it’s the alarm. I knew he was lying but I said okay. As we were driving out of the car yard Ray Smith told me the truth. He said it was a switch to disconnect the speedo. I thought to myself you low- life bastard. I asked him how many genuine kilometres he thought the car had done. He said "about 3000 kilometres" but according to the speedo it had only done much less than that. This had to be stopped.

I told Ray Smith that I knew of someone who might be interested in buying the car but I needed to take it home that night which I did. Phil and I then spent an hour trying to find the switch. We then took the car for a drive on the freeway. The odometer showed we were travelling 80 kilometres and hour but when I reached under the dash and flipped the switch, the needle suddenly showed zero. The whole odometer had been disconnected.

I decided the best way to deal with this was to approach the media. I knew from living in Australia that Aussies love nothing better than a consumer rip-off story. It almost always ends up with positive action being taken to stamp out the practice. I rang the Channel 9 television programme A Current Affair. I spoke to one of their reporters, Howard Gipps. ACA, as it is known in Australia, is a half-hour programme that goes to air after the news at 6.30pm, Monday to Friday. It is one of Australia’s highest rating television programmes and is watched by millions of people all over the country. We drove the Honda to the Channel 9 studios in Sydney.

The ACA team’s initial reaction was to treat us with suspicion until I took them for a test drive in the Honda and flipped the switch to disconnect the speedo. The ACA reporter, Howard Gipps, was impressed to say the least. ACA then organised to get more cars from Eastwood Honda’s car yard to check and see whether the switch was installed in other cars, new and used. ACA found more cars with the switch installed. They decided on an elaborate sting to catch Eastwood Honda with their pants down, complete with covert filming. The New South Wales Department of Fair Trading was contacted, as was the National Roads and Motorists Association (NRMA) which is the equivalent of the Automobile Association in New Zealand.

The NRMA was able to explain how the switch actually worked. The odometer disconnection device wasn’t always located under the dashboard. It was frequently found in other areas of the car’s interior. The upshot of all of this was that the car yard was raided by the Department of Fair Trading and the police. When the sting went down, Phil and I were in a darkened van across the road. One of the salesmen took off so we chased him down the road. I rang him on his mobile and pretended to be a police officer. I told him that he should return to the yard immediately. I made up a bogus name and told the salesman that I had got his mobile number from the Branch Manager. I said to him if you are not back on the yard in 15 minutes I will issue a warrant for your arrest. The guy did a U-turn and headed straight back to the yard.

In addition to all of this, I had an employment case against Eastwood Honda over the non-payment of $7,000, money that I had legitimately earned as a car salesman. We later reached an out-of-court settlement.

Eastwood Honda was charged under the New South Wales Fair Trading Act and the case is still before the courts in Australia. The car yard may well end up losing its licence. What a pity we don’t have that same tough approach here in New Zealand.

The experience of exposing Eastwood Honda convinced me of one thing: the power of television to effect real change.

By the time the story of Eastwood Honda had broken in Australia I was ready to return to New Zealand. I walked straight back into the car trade and was General Manager of a car yard within two days of arriving in Auckland. But things had not changed for the better in the car trade in New Zealand. If anything they had got worse. When I left in 1992, dealers were trying to hide the fact that they sold wound cars. But now four years later they were utterly shameless about it.

The winders were winning. They thought they were above the law and they were. Like I said, I could have joined them but instead I wanted to beat them. I wanted to work in a car industry that had a level playing field, where the measure of your success was how hard you worked and how good you are as a salesman. But the New Zealand car game is an industry built on fraud so prevalent and widespread it is almost an institution.

I deliberately set out to put an end to speedo rewinding. What the winders didn’t count on was the Sheriff of Nottingham, the Anti-clocking Crusader. So I sued the rogue dealers and Customs, took away a winder’s car licence, charged two winders criminally and took my story and evidence to the media. It has been a carefully executed campaign. I have attacked the Imported Motor Vehicle Dealers Association — the IMVDA — and the Motor Vehicle Dealers Institute — the MVDI. I have attacked them because I believe – for reasons that will become clear – that they have conspired to cheat the consumer.

But to understand my motivation for doing all of this, you have to understand how the used car trade was operating in New Zealand from 1991 onwards. Before I tell you of my involvement in the odometer fraud story you must first understand how the winders were working the system, more importantly how the system was working for them.

The dealers had taken to placing warnings on the car’s window card in the yard. The window card gives important details like the make and model whether the vehicle has power steering, air-conditioning and so on, as well as the price. Dealers had decided to include a warning on the window card alerting potential buyers to the possibility that the car’s mileage may be incorrect. Its wording was: "Warning: odometer reading may be incorrect".

But before I deal with the wording of that warning, New Zealand consumers need to know that there are at least two court cases which will greatly assist if not, in my opinion, guarantee that they can get a full refund if their vehicle has been wound. In my view, car dealers have been given a huge helping hand by wrongful interpretations of the law by the Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal and some judges in the District Court.

Take the District Court case of Taupo Auto Sales Limited v Bergensen. In that case Judge Millar rejected what was earlier held to be the status quo as far as the law on odometer accuracy was concerned. This was that where a purchaser could establish a substantial misrepresentation between the odometer reading on the statutory window card and the actual distance the car had travelled, then he or she was entitled to get their money back.

Not so, according to Judge Millar of the District Court.

In what I would describe as a perverse piece of legal logic, the judge ruled that the only obligation a car dealer had was to put the odometer reading on the window card even if the reading was bogus. The dealer having done that, the poor old consumer would have no legal redress. In my opinion this District Court judgement condoned fraud or at the very least gave it the green light.

Thankfully, that District Court judgement was kicked to touch by a wiser and more experienced High Court judge, Mr Justice Holland, in a landmark decision given on the 20th of February 1990. His decision over-rules the District Court judgement and in my view can and should be used by consumers, who bought wound cars from 1990 until the present day, to get their money back.

Mr Justice Holland gave poor old Judge Millar a huge legal bollocking and, in my view, rightly so. I will explain how he dealt with the case. The High Court judge considered an appeal by a car dealer against a successful prosecution by the Commerce Commission under the Fair Trading Act.

In Taupo Autos v Bergensen, the vehicle sold to the consumer had an odometer reading that did not reflect its true mileage. In fact, the vehicle had travelled an extra 100,000 kilometres, or three times the distance disclosed on the window card. But despite the obvious odometer fraud, Judge Millar ruled that the dealer had complied with the provisions of the Motor Vehicle Dealer’s Act to do with odometer accuracy.

Mr Justice Holland took a close look at Taupo Auto Sales Limited v Bergensen because it had some legal similarities to the appeal he was being asked to deliberate on.

Mr Justice Holland made the following observations about Taupo Auto Sales v Bergensen:

"My concern however, is that the judge in Taupo Auto Sales Ltd does not appear to have applied his mind to the fact that Section 90 (7) [of the Motor Vehicle Dealer’s Act] creates criminal sanctions and that sections 96 and 101 create a civil liability. It is not impossible that it was the intention of Parliament for there to be a different criteria in each case. In a claim under section 96, the Tribunal is required to consider whether the vehicle "is substantially different from the vehicle as represented in the notice."

Mr Justice Holland focused his attention on what he considered was the key word: representation. He continues:

"If one asks the question; what is represented by a notice affixed to a car window that its odometer reading is X kilometres, one must consider that the ordinary person would be likely to believe that that was a representation that the vehicle had travelled a total distance of X kilometres. In the circumstances, the decision in Taupo v Bergensen is not directly before me and it is probably inappropriate for this court …to disagree with or over-rule that decision. It may well be that I have not heard full argument on the issue. I merely record that I am not to be taken as having agreed that the decision in Taupo Auto Sales Ltd v Bergensen correctly states the law."

Mr Justice Holland went on to say that the car dealer might have a defence to a criminal charge if he had no prior knowledge of the misrepresentation but merely displayed the odometer reading on the window card. But, this in no way excuses the car dealer from civil liability to a purchaser particularly if it can be proven later that the vehicle was wound and that the consumer paid a price which reflected the number of kilometres on the speedo and on the window card. Mr Justice Holland goes on to point out that successive Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunals have given a wrong interpretation on this legal point. The Tribunals keep saying that Judge Millar’s interpretation is the way to go which of course is totally wrong.

Mr Justice Holland’s decision is serious and important. At the very least New Zealand consumers who bought imported second hand Japanese vehicles from 1990 to the present day are entitled to get a full refund if they can prove that the car was wound. Mr Justice Holland was saying that no law can have a dishonest application. Nor can ignorance of the law be an excuse. The Crimes Act specifically states: "The fact that an offender is ignorant of the law is not an excuse for any offence committed by him."

In a civil sense, bad faith does not excuse a car dealer from liability to pay compensation or give a refund. I know car dealers who will argue, until they are blue in the face, that a bona fide purchase on their part indemnifies them from consumer claims if it can be proven later that the vehicle had been flicked.

It should be pointed out that the Fair Trading Act says the following:

"(1) Subject to this section, it is a defence if the defendant proves:

That the contravention was due to a reasonable mistake or

That the contravention was due to reasonable reliance on information supplied by another person or

That:-(i) The contravention was due to the act or default of another person or to an accident or to some other cause beyond the defendant’s control and (ii) The defendant took reasonable precautions and exercised due diligence to avoid the contravention.

Now before car dealers begin rubbing their hands with glee at what on the surface appears to be a defence under the Fair Trading Act they should also bear this in mind. While it might be a defence to a possible conviction and sentence under the Fair Trading Act, the consumer would still get their money back. Don’t forget, the Fair Trading Act also says this:

"No person shall, in trade, in connection with the supply or possible supply of goods or services or with the promotion by any means of the supply or use of goods or services - falsely represent that goods are of a particular kind, standard, quality, grade, quantity, composition, style or model or have had a particular history or particular previous use or

Make a false or misleading representation concerning the existence, exclusion or effect of any condition, warranty, guarantee, right or remedy."

Mr Justice Holland’s decision prompted a response from the National Party Government, three years after his judgement was given. The Government amended the Motor Vehicle Dealer’s Act in 1994, specifically section 101, to state clearly that no car dealer can legally contract out of what is statutory barred behaviour such as odometer fraud.

Section 101 of the Motor Vehicle Dealer’s Act says:

"For the avoidance of doubt, it is hereby declared that the Tribunal may make an order under subsection (1) of this section in any case where it is proved that the distance travelled by a second hand motor vehicle substantially exceeded the odometer reading as represented to the purchaser by the licensee, notwithstanding that a notice was attached to the vehicle pursuant to section 90 (1) of this Act, that stated the reading on the odometer at the time the vehicle was displayed for sale, unless the notice or a separate notice contained the statement referred to in section 90 (3) (ca) of this Act.

(1) Where any dispute referred to a Dispute’s Tribunal under Section 96 of this Act involves an allegation that a second-hand motor vehicle (not being a commercial vehicle) as sold by the licensee to the purchaser;

Is substantially different from the vehicle as represented in the notice attached to it in purported compliance with section 90 of this Act; or

Did not have a notice attached to it as required by section 90 of this Act and is substantially different from the vehicle as represented to the purchaser to the licensee- the tribunal may, if it is satisfied that the vehicle is substantially different as aforesaid-

Order that the contract of sale be rescinded in accordance with this section or :

Where having regard to all the circumstances of the case it considers that such an order for recission would be unwarranted or unjust, order the licensee to pay to the purchaser or to any other person claiming through the purchaser, such sum (not exceeding 12 thousand dollars) as the Tribunal thinks just by way of compensation in respect of the difference in value between the vehicle as represented and the vehicle sold by the licensee- and in either such case, the Tribunal may make such further or consequential order as it thinks fit.

(1A) Notwithstanding anything in section 98 of this Act, a Disputes Tribunal may make an order under subsection (1) (c ) of this section in any case where it is satisfied that the value of the motor vehicle in dispute does not exceed $30,000.

An order may be made under section (1) (c ) of this section notwithstanding that the parties cannot be restored to the position that they were in immediately before the contract was made, and in any such case the rights and obligations of each party shall be specified in the order.

In any case in which a Dispute’s Tribunal makes an order under subsection (1) (c ) of this section ,other than a case to which subsection (2) of this section applies it shall in the order- (a) Require the purchaser to return the vehicle to the Licensee and (B) Require any consideration passed by the purchaser to be returned to him or

Where in any case in which a Dispute’s Tribunal has made an order under subsection (1) (c ) of this section in respect of any contract or sale there is associated with that contract a collateral credit agreement, the purchasers rights and obligations under that agreement shall on the making of the order be vested in the licensee and may thereafter be enforced by and against the licensee as if he or she were the purchaser.

(4A) For the avoidance of doubt it is hereby declared that the Tribunal may make an order under subsection (1) of this section in any case where it is proved that the distance travelled by a second hand motor vehicle substantially exceeded the odometer reading as represented to the purchaser by the licensee, notwithstanding that a notice was attached to the vehicle pursuant to section 90 (1) of this Act that stated that the reading on the odometer at the time the vehicle was displayed for sale, unless the notice or separate notice contained the statement referred to in section 90 (3) (ca) of this Act."

There is no such thing as immunity from committing a crime. Just because one law says or implies for example that you can do X does not mean that you can automatically do X if by doing it you break the law. And, as Justice Holland pointed out, it certainly won’t save you from liability in a civil sense. In my opinion, the discernible difference between criminal and civil courts when it comes to complaints and cases of misrepresentation is intent. The Fair Trading Act has criminal provisions and substantial penalties for misrepresentation, but it also offers a defence if it was due to a reasonable mistake. But in my view this defence disappears when car dealers warn consumers that every car being offered for sale may be wound. This is not a warning - it is a misrepresentation. What’s more it is being done knowingly.

The key phrase that dealers rely on for a defence to odometer fraud is contained in section (4A) of section 101 of the Motor Vehicle Dealer’s Act. The key words are:

"Unless the notice or a separate notice contained the statement referred to in section 90 (3) (ca) of this Act :- This section provides; In any case where there are reasonable grounds to believe the odometer reading of the motor vehicle may not be correct, the words Warning odometer reading may be incorrect must be used."

Don’t forget what Mr Justice Holland ruled in PC Brixton v the Commerce Commission when he distinguished between the dealer’s responsibility to avoid criminal liability and the civil remedy available to a purchaser. The amendment to section 101 clearly dictated that a car dealer must have reasonable grounds to believe the odometer had been wound before being allowed to use the warning. Using Mr Justice Holland’s approach, a car dealer having reasonable grounds to believe a car is flicked and then asking a price suggesting that the odometer reading on the window card is genuine is, in my view, defrauding the consumer.

I hope you are asking yourself this question: How can a car dealer use the defence of ignorance when the dealer applied a warning stating that the odometer may be incorrect while still charging a price reflecting genuine mileage? In my view no court in New Zealand could accept that a consumer was properly warned about odometer fraud if they have paid a price which is inconsistent with the true value of the goods.

Every time I have turned up to appear before the Motor Vehicle Dispute’s Tribunal and a warning of sorts has been used , even if it is the correctly worded warning as prescribed under the Motor Vehicle Dealer’s Act, not one Tribunal member has ever asked the car dealer to justify the grounds for issuing the warning. especially if they were asking genuine money for the vehicle. You would think that would be the first question any tribunal would ask. If the consumer paid a price that reflected genuine mileage and the vehicle was later discovered to have been wound shouldn’t it automatically follow that the consumer is compensated? If the dealer told the tribunal he had no grounds for issuing a warning then the dealer would in my view have great difficulty defending a criminal charge let alone a civil complaint.

Mr Justice Holland in his decision in Brixton v the Commerce Commission stated the obvious as it occurred to him:

"it is trite that in certain circumstances a representation which is literally true may in the absence of qualification or explanation be a misrepresentation. When a representation is made, the test as to what is being represented would be what a reasonable person in the circumstances and with the knowledge of the person to whom the representation is made, would infer from that representation.

"If it were not for the provisions of section 90 of the Motor Vehicle Dealer’s Act there could be little argument against the proposition that a representation by the car dealer that a vehicle for sale had X kilometres on its odometer would be taken by the representee to mean that it was an indication of the total distance that the vehicle had travelled since new. I do not see anything in the provisions of the Motor Vehicle Dealer’s Act which detracts from that inference.

"It is obvious that when Parliament passed the Motor Vehicle Dealer’s Act, it recognised that there must be circumstances when a Motor Vehicle dealer could not reasonably be required to state the distance travelled by a motor vehicle since new and that criminal sanctions for a wrong statement in that regard would be unjustified. Hence, the obligation on a motor vehicle dealer which carried with it criminal sanctions for error was restricted to stating accurately the distance shown on the odometer."

Mr Justice Holland then makes a very important point:

"It is also trite that a purchaser of a vehicle is not interested in the number of kilometres shown on the odometer unless that is a reasonably accurate indication of the distance which the vehicle has travelled. The purpose of requiring the distance to be stated on the window card on a vehicle for sale is recognition that a purchaser is interested in the distance the vehicle has travelled.

"Section 13 (a) of the Fair Trading Act 1986 provides that it is an offence for a person in trade in connection with a supply of goods to falsely represent that the goods had a particular history. A statement by a motor vehicle dealer that a vehicle he is proposing to sell has X kilometres on the odometer is, in the absence of qualification or explanation and in ordinary circumstances, a representation that the vehicle, since new, has travelled approximately the stated number of kilometres. That is what was done in the present case. The evidence establishes that it was a false representation."

Mr Justice Holland was placing car dealers on notice. Regardless of what is on the window card, if a vehicle is found to be wound then a misrepresentation has occurred.

I would contend that it is inconsistent with honest intent for a car dealer to display a warning on odometer authenticity while at the same time charging a price that reflects genuine mileage. This is what is known as subliminal misrepresentation. While there is a warning of sorts, the prospective buyer would not take the warning very seriously because the price indicates that the vehicle is genuine. The price charged for the vehicle and its general condition would diminish the warning, especially if it only says the odometer reading may be incorrect.

In my view, an honest car dealer could only use the warning if the price of the vehicle reflected that warning. In my experience in the second hand motor trade in New Zealand not one single window card has ever shown a price that reflected the warning. And why would that be? Well, because I believe the Motor Vehicle Dealer’s Institute has told its members who are winders that it is "open season on wood ducks" - that’s car dealing slang for the average New Zealand consumer.

The other case that is extremely important for consumers wanting a full refund is a District Court judgement on odometer tampering delivered in Auckland on the 28th of May 1998. The case was Minchin v Honda New Zealand Ltd. In that case, his honour Judge Everitt rejected the car dealer’s submission that the form of the warning used was sufficient to give protection from civil liability for what was a proven case of odometer tampering.

The judge held that the dealer was required to satisfy one very important condition: the statutory warning on the window card can only be used where there were reasonable grounds that the odometer reading may not be correct. The dealer must demonstrate what those reasonable grounds were.

His honour said:

"If you have no reason to doubt that the odometer reading of the motor vehicle may not be correct you are not entitled to put a notice on the car warning that it may be incorrect."

This judgement is extremely important because it gives much needed credibility to the point I make over and over again in this book. No car dealer can use a warning of odometer fraud unless there are reasonable grounds for doing so. No reasonable grounds, no warning. End of story.

I will now deal in greater detail with the wording and the meaning behind the window card warning. I make no apologies if it sounds repetitive. New Zealand consumers need to understand how and why they have been duped in order to construct an argument that is going to get them a full refund. In 1993 the Consumer Guarantees Act was passed giving consumers yet another piece of legislation that enabled them to get their money back irrespective of whether the dealer had sold them a wound vehicle inadvertently or on purpose.

The Motor Vehicle Dealers Institute which governs licensed motor traders in New Zealand responded to the passage of this legislation with a 16-page publication that it sent to all of its members. It effectively told the dealers how to contract out of the Consumer Guarantees Act even though the Act strictly forbids contracting out.

That’s what I really love about the window card warning. The dealers thought that by having it, they were safe. But what they never realised was that the warning may, in fact, be indicative of the fraud.

I’ll explain. Take the following analogy. You as a consumer buy a Rolex watch from an authorised Rolex agent. After doing some buyer research the model you choose costs about 20 grand.

The price you pay reflects your belief that the watch is genuine. I mean you would have to be pretty stupid to part with 20 grand for a watch you know is a fake and only worth $200.

But every Rolex agent in town places a warning on all of his watches. It says they might be fakes. You have no choice, because every Rolex watch in the country carries the same warning. So you buy the Rolex for 20 grand thinking that it is genuine only to discover that it is a fake. You go to the Rolex agent and demand your money back.

But the agent says, "hang on a minute, you were warned that the watch might be fake". But you say "I thought the watch was genuine because I paid $20,000 for it which is the going rate for a genuine Rolex, and you are a licensed agent for Rolex. Hell, you’re an expert on Rolexes!"

The agent then gives you what will be his legal defence for selling you a fake Rolex. He tells you, "well I was fooled as well. I also thought the Rolex was genuine, otherwise I would not have charged you 20 grand." He is of course telling you this because he believes that will absolve him of liability.

The same defence may be mounted by a car dealer who sells you a wound car with a warning on the window, but stay with me on the watch analogy for a moment.

In any reasonable circumstance, an expert jeweller who places a warning doubting the authenticity of a watch he offers for sale should reflect that doubt in a much lower sale price. What’s more the jeweller must have reasonable grounds for believing that it is a fake.[author’s emphasis].

If he states that the forgery was good enough to fool him then why did he place a warning on the Rolex in the first place? What reasonable grounds did he have for issuing the warning? The reasonable grounds must be prior knowledge that it was a fake. What other reasonable grounds could there be?

In any case, the jeweller has charged you a price that you as a consumer would expect to pay if the Rolex were genuine. But of course the Rolex is a fake and he is guilty of deception. End of story.

If it is later found that the jeweller has been selling hundreds of fake watches for massive profits then the criminal intent is proven and the warning is, in itself, an admission.

How is it an admission? Because by issuing a warning to avoid civil liability, the jeweller is showing that he has good cause to believe he is selling a fake. Selling a fake at a genuine price, without disclosing to the buyer his strong suspicions about the watch in question, shows the jeweller has now formed criminal intent to deceive, and deception is the central element of fraud.

If he is guilty of fraud at a criminal level, then all the warnings in the world won’t save the jeweller from civil liability either.

A warning, then, can be a double-edged sword for a retailer. If used properly, the warning is a perfectly acceptable sales device. It might be applied to damaged or defective goods, for example. But an honest retailer always passes on the benefit of the doubt. Defective goods are sold at a discount, like clothes sold as seconds.

Exactly the same principle applies when buying a used Japanese imported car.

But let’s go back for a moment to the MVDI’s warning, the one you see on most car window cards that says the odometer reading of the vehicle may be incorrect.

Under the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act, the car dealer must have reasonable grounds to suspect odometer tampering before he can issue the warning. [author’s emphasis].

In other words, the dealer – an expert in the eyes of the law under the Fair Trading Act – must have pretty strong reasons to believe that the vehicle has been flicked, before he’s allowed to issue the warning.

Having issued the warning, one would then expect the price of the vehicle concerned to drop several thousand dollars to reflect that suspicion. But it does not.

Instead, the car dealer continues to offer the car at the same price as a genuine one, even though it may have travelled 100,000 kilometres more! This is where the fraudulent intent comes in. The dealer is intending to get a genuine price for something he believes is dodgy.

The buyer is deceived. The car looks like it’s only travelled 50,000 kilometres. In fact it looks in identical nick to the NZ-original car beside it that’s done a genuine 50,000 k’s, and it’s priced exactly the same.

Both cars are carrying the odometer warning, even though car B was sold new in NZ. In fact, every car in the yard is carrying the warning. The car buyer is being given no clues. He or she buys the wound vehicle that’s done 150,000 kilometres, but is paying $10,000 too much.

By placing the warning on vehicles unlikely to have been clocked, one could argue the dealer has increased the deception by making it harder for the customer to distinguish fact from fake.

Go back to the Rolex analogy. If the jeweller was selling 20 Rolexes, and the warning was only on one, the buyer would:

be unlikely to purchase that particular watch, and

be put on notice that he or she should ask questions about that particular watch.

If the Rolex agent had placed the warning on every single watch, knowing that only one was fake but not wanting to draw attention to it, then that would amount to "deceptive and misleading conduct" under the terms of the Fair Trading Act. Fraud.

You don’t venture into a Cartier shop, for example, expecting 80% of their diamond rings to be made of zirconia. No matter how many buyer beware signs might be on the door. And if Cartier inadvertently sold you a zirconia for $20,000, you would expect them to refund you, wouldn’t you? You wouldn’t expect them to say "Tough luck – you should have read the warning!"

But this is exactly what many New Zealand car dealers did. They placed warnings on all their vehicles, even the ones that weren’t clocked, trying to exempt themselves from civil liability but arguably putting themselves in the gun at a criminal level.

Although Japanese imports had been a growth industry since 1987, it wasn’t until 1994 that dealers began carpet-bombing every vehicle with window cards warning that the odometer reading might be incorrect.

The dealers were effectively saying to car buyers "I don’t know if this car’s odometer has been rewound; it may well be, but I am going to sell it to you at a price that assumes the mileage is genuine."

But hang on a minute, you ask. What about the car dealer who is buying cars in good faith, either from wholesale importers or as ordinary trade-ins? Surely these dealers are not committing fraud by using window card warnings? How are these dealers supposed to know whether a vehicle has been wound or not?

It’s a fair point, and it is easily answered. In law, the car dealer is deemed to be an "expert", with the skill to recognise the signs or likelihood of winding, and the resources to have it confirmed or refuted. Where a car is coming as a trade-in, the cost of getting an odometer report, for a couple of hundred dollars, could be built into the deal.

This dealer still has to have "reasonable grounds" to place an odometer warning on the window card under the terms of sections 90(2)(d) and (3)(d) of the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act 1975.

If those "reasonable grounds" exist, then the dealer should be telling prospective buyers what those grounds for suspicion are, and lowering the price commensurately.

Putting a warning on in a bid to avoid civil liability, whilst also asking the same price as a genuine mileage vehicle, is a bid by the dealer to have cake and eat it and, in the eyes of the law, it is illegal.

If the dealer was unwittingly sold a wound car by a wholesale importer, then the dealer should refund the retail customer and lodge his own claim against the wholesaler under the Fair Trading Act.

I believe the dealer’s warning on odometer authenticity is a clear breach of the New Zealand Fair Trading Act 1986 and the Consumer Guarantees Act. Both of these Acts ban any trade that may be misleading or deceptive to the consumer.

But there was a problem with using these Acts to get refunds on odometer fraud. Under these two Acts, the burden of proof falls on the customer. Consumers would have to provide proof of the winding, proof that would stand up in a court of law. In the absence of proof no consumer could expect to get their money back.

If the cars were coming into New Zealand stripped of all documentation, how could a consumer ever hope to prove their case? The dealers thought they were safe, and were winding cars like there was no tomorrow, making huge profits at the expense of the New Zealand consumer.

Little wonder that Japanese car imports were at record levels — up to 85,000 vehicles a year. Those figures told me that a huge number of New Zealand car dealers were in on the fraud.

In that climate it was impossible to trade honestly and be competitive. I will give you an example of what I mean. Let’s say you are an honest car dealer and you go to Japan to import cars into New Zealand. You buy a car with genuine mileage for a million yen or about $NZ14,000.

Your competitor, who is into winding, buys the same model car that looks genuine but with high mileage on the speedo. He only pays 400,000 yen or about $NZ5,500 — not even half the price you paid.

Both cars are shipped back to New Zealand and sold for the same price to New Zealand consumers. Because of the price you paid for the car in Japan you will only make about $2,000 profit on the sale, but your competitor will make between 10 and 12 grand. There is no way known that you can be competitive. If he makes that kind of profit on 20 cars he will put you out of business unless you join him and start winding cars.

The minute those 20 wound cars arrived in New Zealand your competitor picked up equity, an amazing amount of equity — at least $200,000 in equity, and he hasn’t had to lift a finger. Little wonder odometer fraud was such an attractive crime. It was and is a licence to print money.

One final postscript on the odometer warning. From my experience as a car salesman, New Zealand consumers, like consumers everywhere else in the world, buy the best car for the best price. The average New Zealand car buyer believes he or she can tell whether or not a car has had its speedo rewound. But the biggest judgment they make is on the price of the car. If the dealer is asking genuine money for a wound car the consumer will think the car is genuine and pay the price. Why? Because the price reflects the car’s value, not just its cost.

You must remember that almost every Japanese imported car offered for sale in New Zealand is stripped of any documentation that might give some indication of how many genuine kilometres it has travelled. So the consumer will bite the bullet and simply trust the dealer. They might ask the dealer to give a guarantee, which is usually verbal, that to the best of the dealer’s knowledge the car is genuine. Of course the car dealer is going to say yes. To say anything else would be admitting to fraud.

As I said earlier, there is another very important point about that warning that you need to grasp. The Motor Vehicle Dealers Act 1975 dictates that the dealer must have "reasonable grounds" for believing that the car’s odometer has been wound back before being able to use and rely on that warning which says "Warning: odometer reading may be incorrect".

The price must reflect the dealer’s "reasonable grounds" for thinking that the car’s speedo may have been rewound. He can’t charge genuine money for a car he thinks may have been wound.

I can’t stress this point enough, because it is central to any claim you may later have against a dealer who is attempting to use a window-card warning against you:

If two otherwise identical vehicles, one clocked and one genuine, are both carrying odometer warning cards and being offered at the same price, then the car dealer is already in breach of the Fair Trading Act and the Consumer Guarantees Act, because the price is clearly based on the odometer reading, despite the warnings.

The Fair Trading Act says:

"…No person shall in trade, in connection with the supply or possible supply of goods or services or with the promotion by any means of the supply or use of the goods or services (a) falsely represent that goods are of a particular kind, standard, quality, grade, composition, style or model or have had a particular history or particular previous use…

"(g) Make a false or misleading representation with respect to the price of any goods."

The Consumer Guarantees Act says:

"…where goods are supplied by description to a consumer, there is a guarantee that the goods correspond with the description."

To give you an example, reasonable grounds for placing a warning on the window card would be:

1) a Japanese manufacturer’s warranty database showing that some years prior the vehicle had travelled a great many more kilometres; or that its average annual mileage at that time would suggest, along with the condition of the vehicle, that the mileage was substantially higher than the current odometer reading

2) a logbook or oil service sticker attached to, or located in, the vehicle that indicated the same

3) general mechanical wear and tear

4) an odometer technician’s report on the condition of the odometer.

If none of those grounds exists then there would be no reason to suspect a car was wound and no reason to use a warning. [author’s emphasis]. So it follows that the warning would only be placed on cars that satisfied the criteria of reasonable grounds: "…where there are reasonable grounds to believe that the odometer reading of the motor vehicle may not be correct."

So let’s reflect for a moment on what we’ve covered.

The Motor Vehicle Dealers Act 1975, section 90(3)(d) says a warning can only be used where a dealer has good reason to suspect the odometer reading really is incorrect.

The Fair Trading Act 1986 says that where a dealer is sufficiently concerned to use the warning, the reasons for issuing it must be revealed to the potential buyer.

That the window card warning may be contractually ineffective if it is not matched by a price drop to reflect the possible tampering.

That dealers who place warnings on all their vehicles, rather than just those they suspect have been tampered with, may be attempting to deceive customers fraudulently.

Finally, in this chapter, let’s briefly examine why we should care whether a vehicle odometer has been wound or not. The attitude of some people is that Japanese imports have brought prices down whilst upgrading the standard of the NZ vehicle fleet. Cars now have features like air conditioning and electric windows as standard.

This is true, but this is only one side of the equation. The other is this: at what cost?

One cost has clearly been the jobs of workers in the local car assembly industry, and the manufacturing support industries. Our taxes must now support their rehabilitation.

A direct cost to the motorist is this, however: If you are being charged $20,000 dollars for a $10,000 vehicle, then that is ten thousand dollars that has been taken out of your income and given to a car dealer. Perhaps you are being charged interest on a hire purchase loan for the vehicle. What would your payments be if you’d only had to borrow a couple of thousand dollars, not $12,000?

Perhaps, instead of making large car payments, you or your family could be holidaying on the Gold Coast or Disneyland, or you might have purchased a boat or a lounge and dining suite. Get the picture?

I’ll make it even simpler.

A car dealer purchases a six year old 4WD at a Japanese auction. The 4WD has done a genuine 140,000 kilometres. The car dealer pays $5,300 for the car, which includes the cost of shipping it to New Zealand. He will pay $1,500 in import tariffs when it arrives on the wharf in Auckland, and he’s arranged to have its speedo flicked back to 50,000 kilometres.

That 4WD should retail for about $14,000 given its genuine mileage. Instead, the dealer is asking $24,000 for it.

You have a trade-in, a car now worth $7,000, just half what you paid for it 18 months earlier. You use it as the deposit, and finance the remaining $17,000 over three years at 17%. That’s $5,780 in interest you’re paying out on top of the 17 grand – a total cost of nearly $23,000 at $630 a month for three years, and a total price for the vehicle of $30,000.

Now look at the real cost of the car, and its real condition, and its real retail value.

Suppose you buy it for $14,000 with your $7,000 trade-in and the balance over 36 months as well. Your interest cost will be $2,380, and your repayments will be $260 a month.

Now look at some below the line costs, such as maintenance. If you purchased the wound car, you’ll have no service records and no idea that your engine is a lot more worn out than you realise.

Your cam belt could break in a month’s time, costing you thousands of dollars in repairs and wasted time.

If you purchased the 4WD in original condition, with full papers, you’ll know that it’s time for a service, and you’ll know what to expect.

And what about depreciation?

At the end of three years, you’ve travelled a further 60,000 kilometres. If you purchased the wound vehicle, your odometer now shows 110,000 k’s. Your 4WD is now nine years old. It is worth perhaps $11,000 retail, maybe $8,500 as a trade. Remember, you paid a total of $29,780 for it, including interest. You have just lost up to $21,000.

If you bought the genuine mileage 4WD, its odometer now shows 200,000 k’s. It is worth $7,995 retail, perhaps $5,500 to $6,000 trade.

Assuming the worst, you lost $10,880 on that deal.

And then the cycle begins again. Buyer One purchases another clocked vehicle and sets themselves up to pay the dealer and the finance company more hard-earned wages.

Buyer Two purchases another genuine mileage vehicle and loses commensurately less money. After three or four cars, Buyer One has probably lost enough money to pay off his or her mortgage.

But it’s all worth it, right? You’re not really worried about the odometer tampering thing, because these days you’re buying a better class of car than you could once have afforded.

In the meantime, it’s the car dealers who go to the French Riviera, the Swiss Alps and Monaco each year for their holidays.

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 10:14 AM

the word press site is now password protected...
by any chance, just by the snippets off google...do you think this might indicate that lauda bit too many hands this time???
just reading between the lines lol...



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vimeo.com/138713923 Aug 2010 - 6 min
New Zealand - Jenni McManus - Part 1. by Lauda Finem ... Lauda Finem's videos ; Staff Picks. 2. New ...



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Lauda Finem

www.festivalfocus.org/film_view.php?uid=3804


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