Backyard used car dealer Ali Faraj has been dubbed the South Australia’s 'dodgiest trader' by the consumer watchdog, after his latest court appearance. He has a 'substantial history' of 'unscrupulous behaviour' which stretches across different industries and has cost him $150,000 in fines and compensation payouts in the past 14 months, Consumer and Business Services said.
The Warradale man, 31, is a home-wrecking renovator and backyard car dealer who has swindled people out of tens of thousands of dollars using three different names. He also holds the record for the highest fines imposed by courts for breaching building and car dealing laws. Faraj, also known as Kamel Kassem and Kamel Mousselmani, was also jailed in Victoria for six months in 2011. He has convictions for at least 68 dishonesty and deception offences in that state.
Consumer Affairs Commissioner Paul White said Faraj ''clearly has complete contempt for the law … He is untrustworthy, unethical and CBS have made every endeavour to ensure he is no longer a threat to consumers,'' he said. Last week, Faraj was fined $33,000 in the Adelaide Magistrates Court for selling more than 10 used cars without a second-hand car dealer's licence. He was found to have 'intentionally' traded the cars illegally between July 2011 and December 2012.
The vehicles, many brought from Victoria, included Mercedes Benz sedans, a Toyota HiLux and a Nissan Skyline. The previous Friday, Faraj was banned in the District Court from working in the building industry after continuing to advertise for construction work despite convic-tions last year for working unlicensed and ripping off several customers for tens of thousands of dollars for renovation jobs.
For these crimes, he was fined $57,000 and paid $1706 victims of crime levy, $800 for prosecution costs and $60,000 compensation in September last year. He undertook contracts worth more than $700,000 with at least four Adelaide homeowners to carry out renovations, demolition, painting, plumbing and electrical work in 2010 and 2011. In one case he demolished the interior of a beachfront Hallett Cove home and left the $380,000 job unfinished - despite taking a $50,000 deposit from the owners. CBS urges consumers who engage with any trader to check they are licensed at the Public Licensing Register on www.cbs.sa.gov.au