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.

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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Langley’s Jim Orlowski, a regular contributor to Through Your Lens, shared this picture of some bird swimming around in Brydon Lagoon. They were spotted while he was walking along the trail in the Nicomekl flood plains. They frequently cross paths with dozens of other walkers and park visitors enjoying the trail on a bright winter day. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
SHARE: Bird friends from Brydon

Send us your photo showing how you view Langley, and it could be featured in a future edition

Mark Chandler, outside of his extradition hearing at the Vancouver Supreme Court. (Langley Advance Times files)
Langley condo builder’s fraud sentencing in U.S. delayed due to COVID-19

Mark Chandler’s own lawyer contracted COVID-19 in December

People have noticed pine siskins dying in the area, part of a trend of larger numbers of the finch flocking to the area about every five years. The larger numbers result in crowding and increased spread of salmonella. (Wikipedia photo)
Langley birdwatchers seeing dead finch species in higher numbers

Pine siskins are in the area in larger numbers. They are prone to salmonella which is fatal for them

Electric charging stations, like this one outside the new North Delta Centre for the Arts, might be seeing more commercial delivery vehicles using them soon, if a provincial rebate program takes off. (James Smith photo/Special to Black Press Media)
Restaurants to get big rebates for electric delivery vehicles

The project boosts the rebates for electric commercial and industrial vehicles in B.C.

The CubicFarm System moves rows of leafy greens through a system calibrated to grow the perfect crop. (cubicfarms.com)
Veritcal farm company based in Pitt Meadows, Langley raises millions

The company has raised more than $15 million from investors

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

The Delta Hospice Society operates the Harold & Veronica Savage Centre for Supportive Care (pictured) and the Irene Thomas Hospice in Ladner. (The Canadian Press photo)
Fraser Health to evict Delta Hospice Society, open new hospice beds next door

Health authority will serve DHS 30 days’ notice when service agreement expires Feb. 25

Most Read