Odometer rollbacks by banned car dealer prompt warning from regulators

Arthur Tong banned from car business, forced to compensate unsuspecting buyers

One of the vehicles Arthur Tong advertised on Craigslist as having 'low kms' after rewinding the odometer.

Regulators are warning car buyers to watch out for vehicles with odometers that were rolled back by a now-banned car dealer who posed as a private seller.

Arthur Tong, owner of dealership Delta Well, which did business in Richmond and Delta as New Star Motors, admitted at a hearing to illegally rolling back the odometers and selling nearly 40 cars to unsuspecting buyers.

The Vehicle Sales Authority of British Columbia cancelled the dealership’s registration, Tong’s sales licence and banned him for life from licensed car sales or affiliation with a dealership.

The authority tracked down 30 of the 39 odometer-tampered vehicles sold by Tong and Delta Well to buyers from as far away as Abbotsford and Vancouver Island.

The dealer was required to buy back four vehicles for a total of $60,000 and and pay $58,100 in compensation to the other 26 owners.

“Because of the rollbacks, he was able to attract buyers from across the Lower Mainland,” Vehicle Sales Authority of B.C. spokesman Doug Longhurst said. “If you’re rolling back an odometer you can offer pretty competitive deals.”

Tong was unapologetic in hearings late last year and this spring, according to the VSA regulatory decision, and he refused to identify anyone who assisted with the tampering.

In most of the cases, Tong electronically rewound odometers, something Longhurst said can be done quickly by a relatively cheap device that works on most cars.

Odometer tampering on this scale is rare, Longhurst said, but the authority is wary it could increase.

Although Tong was selling the cars privately, the authority was able to to go after him and extract compensation only because he was a licensed dealer.

“For us, this highlights the benefits of buying from a licensed dealer as opposed to off Craigslist or whatever,” Longhurst said.

But the vehicle sales authority has no power to directly prosecute Tong further, even though the Motor Dealer Act allows fines of up to $100,000 and six months in jail for odometer rollbacks.

Longhurst said that would require a police investigation and interest from Crown counsel.

“Even though he’s admitted a criminal act, given how busy the courts are it would be unlikely I think that this would go forward.”

Longhurst said the VSA is trying to track any further illegal dealing Tong does.

Compensation could still flow to the other nine unidentified buyers if they can be found.

Car buyers can protect themselves by getting vehicle history reports from ICBC or services such as Carproof and Carfax. A report showing a car’s odometer had higher mileage in the past than it does now would be a red flag.

Just Posted

Four years for manslaughter in Surrey drive-by shooting

Mahdi Halane was rendered a quadriplegic until his death in hospital six years later at age 24.

Author at Surrey event glad to have book published ‘before reality totally overtakes fiction’

Ari Goelman, a business and criminology instructor, speaks at KPU Reads gathering Jan. 22

Cloverdale banker shares his love of swing dancing

Cloverdale’s Phillip Kunz shows dancing newcomers how to get into the swing of things

Woman charged in Abbotsford mall stabbing served time for 2001 killing

Victim in Edmonton killing was stabbed eight times with kitchen knife

White Rock cannabis and adult entertainment bylaws to move to public hearings

Council will seek input on potential of allowing contentious businesses in city limits

VIDEO: Orcas put on a show near Hornby Island

Louis Jobodin shares photos and video of his experience

Body discovered in burnt out car near Trail

Police report a body was found in the burnt out trunk of a 1999 Honda Civic

UPDATE: Friends mourn boy, 15, killed in Vancouver shooting

John Horgan: ‘No stone is to be left unturned until we find the perpetrator of this heinous crime’

VIDEO: B.C. Lions sign defensive back T.J. Lee to contract for upcoming season

The four-year veteran had a team-high four interceptions and 49 tackles last season with B.C.

How an immigrant to Canada helped Donald Trump prove his mental health

Test that cleared Trump was developed by doctor associated with McGill and Sherbrooke universities

Premier touches on multiple topics ahead of Asia trade trip

Housing and childcare are expected to be the focus of the BC NDP’s first budget in February.

VIDEO: Explorers uncover Canada’s deepest cave in Fernie

The cave, named Bisaro Anima, was confirmed to have broken the record on New Year’s Day

Vernon to host largest Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games in 2019

Games to be held Feb. 21-23, with more than 800 athletes expected to take part

League’s all-stars hit the ice in Langley

PJHL hosts top junior B players for all-star game

Most Read