News

New Westminster car dealership gets sales licence revoked

A New Westminster car dealership has lost its licence and a lifetime sales ban has been imposed on the owner for selling an unsafe vehicle and defrauding customers.

Matrix Auto Sales, on 12th Street near Stewardson Way, has been banned from selling motor vehicles to consumers following a 46-page judgment handed down by deputy registrar Ian Christman of the Vehicle Sale Authority of B.C. He ruled owner Ramin Karamali sold an unsafe vehicle and deliberately forged documents to conceal his ownership of the company.

Karamali, 43, had registered the business in the name of his wife, Madana Mansouri Tehrani, and sales associates, Reza Mohammad Forgohi and Rezapoor Habibollah, after being previously denied a sales licence for deceptive sales practices.

But the VSA learned Karamali had since illegally acquired 75 per cent equity in the company and did not inform them.

In 2009, Nelson resident Isaac Roberts filed a complaint with the VSA about a 2006 Toyota Tundra truck he bought from Matrix.

An investigation found the truck had been previously written off by ICBC as a “total loss” following a car accident and was purchased and rebuilt for resale by Matrix after passing a vehicle inspection.

The truck was sold to Roberts for $20,000 in $20 bills, which Roberts claimed was made at the request of Matrix. The company claimed Roberts paid in cash to engage in money laundering and demanded ICBC produce records of Roberts’ vehicle history.

In a pre-hearing on Oct.29, 2009, Christman disagreed with Matrix’s demand, ruling that “the purchase of a motor vehicle by way of cash is, in-and-of-itself, not evidence of illegal conduct.”

VSA investigators found that, among many safety concerns, the wheels and tires were too large for the truck.

Matrix has a rating of B+ with the Better Business Bureau, receiving just one complaint over the past 36 months.

The VSA handed down a lifetime sales ban to Karamali and suspended the sales licence of an unnamed associate for three years.

Karamali was previously convicted in North Vancouver Provincial Court on Sept.19, 2006 for odometer tampering, operating as an unregistered dealer and tax evasion.

By Adrian MacNair, special to the News Leader.

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