VANCOUVER – British Columbia’s Vehicle Sales Authority (VSA) has banned auto dealer Arthur Tong from doing business for life and warned the public about him after more than three dozen vehicles he sold were found to have rolled-back odometers.
In a decision released in early July, the VSA also cancelled the registration of Delta Well (Canada) Ltd., doing business as New Star Motors with locations in suburban Delta and Richmond, for violations of the B.C. Motor Dealer Act.
Delta Well’s registration was suspended after a November hearing that followed a consumer complaint and inspection by a compliance officer. An investigation revealed Tong had rolled back the mileage on 39 vehicles, or 85 per cent of sales over one year. He sold some outside while posing as a private seller.
Tong and Delta Well bought back four vehicles for $60,000 and paid $58,000 in compensation to 26 other buyers. Nine customers who did not respond to VSA letters have not been compensated.
Tong argued he needed to continue selling vehicles in order to make money to compensate the duped buyers. But a further hearing in April resulted in the decision to force him out of business for good.
Tong previously was ticketed for a 2013 complaint of a rolled-back odometer where he argued a replacement unit was improperly set.
The latest incidents involved replacing odometers or digital manipulation of existing units.
Tong blamed the high cost of reconditioning the vehicles for a need to extract more profit by portraying them as having lower mileage.
In his ruling, registrar Ian Christman observed Tong did not seem remorseful after being caught cheating, arguing it was necessary to stay competitive.
“The clear impression was this was a business issue,” Christman wrote.