Dublin car dealer sentenced over clocked motor

Timmy Keane
Timmy Keane

A DUBLIN motor dealer has been given a six-month suspended sentence for selling a clocked car.

Timmy Keane, 65, with an address at Harold's Cross Cottages, Dublin 6, paid €5,000 compensation to cover the loss suffered by a woman who bought a four-door '10-reg Ford Focus from him in 2014.

Dublin District Court heard it was advertised as having 88,000 kilometres but 100,000 kilometres had been been erased from its odometer.

The case was brought by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) who have prosecuted him before for the same type of offence. 

Yesterday/today (MON) Judge John Brennan noted that he had paid the compensation and the CCPC found the amount acceptable

The consumer paid Keane €10,500 for the car but its full service history was never provided. Prosecution barrister Carl Hanahoe said that in January 2014, the woman brought the car to be serviced in a garage.

It transpired the same garage had carried out a service on the car in February 2013, before she bought it, and at that stage there were 183,000 kilometres on the clock. By the time the woman bought it from Keane, “100,000 kms had disappeared”.

She contacted Keane and he indicated to her that she would have to provide proof of the alternate mileage.

The court heard there had been a number of trade sales before Keane had the car.

A guilty plea was entered by him to a charge of providing misleading information on the history of the Ford Focus at his premises in Harold’s Cross.

 It was alleged a false kilometre reading on the odometer was given and this was likely to convince an ordinary customer to make a transactional decision they otherwise might not have made.

The charge is contrary to Section 43 of the 2007 Consumer Protection Act.

Keane has a prior criminal conviction in 2014 for an identical offence, Judge Brennan was told. In that case Keane paid €7,000 compensation and was fined €500 by the same court.

In pleas for leniency, his solicitor said Keane suffers from health problems and a medical report was furnished to the court.

The defence said Keane had been in the motor sales business for 50 years but he is currently on a disability allowance and now sells cars occasionally for €50 to €100 commission.

Concerns were raised by the prosecution that he still advertises and his solicitor said that his client had approached the case in a haphazard fashion.

Judge Brennan said he had to take into account his previous conviction for the same offence and the egregious nature of the offence, adding, “100,000 kilometres has been erased from the car deliberately” and the buyer would have paid for a car that was entirely different from what she received.

He said the law had to protect consumers and be a deterrent to “cowboy dealers”.

A repeat conviction for the offence can also result in a 12-month sentence and a €5,000 fine. Judge Brennan imposed a six-month sentence but suspended it on condition Keane does not re-offend in the next year.