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A WEST Perth car dealership which specialised in selling luxury cars on consignment, has closed owing customers about $960,000, according to Consumer Protection.

The Western Australian commissioner for Consumer Protection, David Hillyard, said that Luxuride Pty Ltd, operated by director Nicolas Ngo, has 15 vehicle owners who signed consignment agreements and who have allegedly not been paid. He said that Mr Ngo left Australia with his partner on April 14, 2018.

The commissioner reported that his agency received reports that consumers were not paid for vehicles sold by Luxuride.

“With the assistance of staff, we managed to obtain the contact details of 48 owners whose vehicles were still for sale in the car yard and all but two of those vehicles have now been returned,” Mr Hillyard said in a statement.

“However, 14 consumers who have contacted us claim to be owed significant amounts of money by the company.

“In most cases their cars were sold but they didn’t receive the proceeds. In one case, a consumer paid for a vehicle upfront but didn’t receive it and we believe the vehicle has now been on-sold to another buyer.

“This closure could be financially devastating for the car owners with many of the sellers now out of pocket, some by up to $100,000. They are now without their vehicle and, in some cases, finance is still owed.”

Mr Hillyard said that the full amount of outstanding money would not be known until the business is formerly wound up, adding that “we are hopeful there will some returns for the affected consumers”.

The agency had dealings with Mr Ngo in February, responding to complaints about allegedly failing to comply with laws relating to selling vehicles on consignment and for allegedly making false or misleading representations to the owners of the vehicles.

It said that Luxuride and Mr Ngo were charged with breaching the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act by selling on consignment and then failing to pay the proceeds within two business days; receiving money from a consignment sale and failing to pay it into a trust account on that day; and employing two people acting as a sales representative and yard manager without holding an authorisation under the Act.

“It’s further alleged the Australian Consumer Law was also breached when false or misleading representations were made to vehicle owners regarding the sale price, enabling the dealership to gain a higher profit,” Consumer Protection said.

In addition to the action by Consumer Protection, the department of transport served a termination notice to Luxuride on April 23, 2018, ceasing online data sharing.

By Neil Dowling

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