Delta car importer shut down
The father and son who ran a Delta-based car import business have reportedly skipped town after a barrage of customer complaints resulted in the court-ordered closure of their company.
According to documents filed in B.C. Supreme Court, Iain Robinson and his son James recently returned to their native New Zealand, leaving behind an undisclosed number of irate clients who paid thousands of dollars to buy Japanese vehicles they couldn’t drive in Canada.
Their company, JDM Wholesale Canada Ltd., was bringing in second-hand vehicles made specifically for the Japanese market, where people drive on the opposite side of the road.
The right-hand-drive vehicles are allowed in Canada under Transport Canada regulations that permit the import of cars 15 years or older even if they have steering wheels on the wrong side.
They must, whoever, meet all applicable safety regulations.
The law was originally intended to allow car enthusiasts to bring in American muscle cars, but it’s also used by buyers of uniquely Japanese models like the blazingly fast Nissan Skyline GTR and the diesel-powered Mitsubishi Delica four-wheel-drive van.
According to the court documents filed by the VSA (the Vehicle Sales Authority, the B.C. body that regulates car and truck sales), JDM was selling customers vehicles that failed safety inspections.
VSA alleges one buyer discovered the company had swapped the tires on her Delica van, replacing Canadian-spec tires with Japanese-made models that are not certified for use in Canada.
She had to pay $750 to have them replaced.
Another buyer, VSA said, paid $11,500 for a vehicle only to discover it had been previously sold to another person, who was still listed as the registered owner.
And VSA noted at least 20 people paid for extended warranties that were no good because JDM never forwarded the payments to the warranty company.
JDM also collected provincial sales tax money without forwarding it, court documents allege.
Other suppliers, including the operator of the JDM website, say the Robinsons have failed to pay their bills.
The Robinsons could not be reached for comment.
The company offices at 1668 Derwent Way have been locked up, with a series of legal notices and court documents taped to the door.
Customers who have suffered financial losses are asked to contact Denis Savidan, VSA’s Manager of Compliance and Investigations, at 604-294-9889, local 527.