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Press Releases 2005

For immediate release

October 26, 2005

AUTO RIP-OFF :

Oak Ridges MPP Calls on MTO to Lay Charges

 

(Queen's Park) Oak Ridges MPP, Frank Klees today called on the Minister of Transportation to launch a full investigation into the alleged rip-off of Richmond Hill resident, 19 year old Justin Meija.

Meija purchased his first car this past summer and in doing so relied on the Safety Standard Certificate issued by a Ministry of Transportation inspection station. Just two weeks later another MTO inspector pulled the car off the road following another inspection because the vehicle was found to be "structurally unsafe" to drive.

Klees challenged the Transportation Minister to ensure a full investigation is launched into the matter.

"When I called and spoke to the MTO officials," said Klees, "they told me that they were powerless to do anything to help this young man. That's simply unacceptable. If safety certificates are being issued fraudulently, then that's a very serious issue that the Minister needs to ensure is addressed immediately. People's lives are at risk. Secondly, my constituent is a victim of this fraud and needs to be protected. He relied on MTO when he spent $7,000 on this car. Now they're telling him it's going to cost an additional $8,000 to make the car roadworthy. But they won't help him recover any of the money he initially spent when he relied on their safety certificate. If MTO, which issued both the safety certificate and the order to take the car off the road simply denies responsibility, who in this government is responsible for the integrity of the safety process?"

During Question Period in the Legislature, Klees provided specific details of the case to the Transportation Minister.

"How many other innocent victims are being ripped off by these con artists?" asked Klees. "This kind of fraud needs to be investigated using the full resources of the Ministry of Transportation. Justin Meija has done a great public service in coming forward with this complaint and he deserves to see justice is done."

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Ontario Hansard - 26-October2005

VEHICLE INSPECTION CERTIFICATES


Mr. Frank Klees (Oak Ridges): My question is to the Minister of Transportation. Minister, you will know the importance of vehicle structural inspection certificates. The public relies on those certificates issued by your ministry to ensure both consumer protection as well as road safety. When a consumer purchases a vehicle, they rely on those certificates to give them confidence that their vehicle is structurally sound. Minister, when a purchase like that takes place and it's found subsequently that the certificate was issued fraudulently, do you believe your ministry has responsibility in that matter, or do you wash your hands of it?

Hon. Harinder S. Takhar (Minister of Transportation): We take any fraudulent cases very seriously. Any fraud is against the law, and we take those issues very seriously. If the member has any particular case he is prepared to give to me, we will investigate that.

Mr. Klees: Well, Minister, I do have a particular case. My constituent, 19-year-old Justin Mejia, saved up $7,000 to buy his first car so that he could get to and from work. He relied on your ministry's safety certificate when he purchased his first car from Mario Malicia, owner of Elite Import Auto Sales of Hamilton. Two weeks later, the same car was declared structurally unfit to drive by another inspection station of your ministry. Now he's told that it's going to cost him another $8,000 to get the car back on the road. What's most disturbing to Mr. Mejia is the fact that the Ministry of Transportation is now denying responsibility and refuses to assist him in recovering his $7,000.

Minister, will you commit, first of all, to a full investigation? Second, will you commit to ensuring that the appropriate charges are laid against that garage, as well as the mechanic who issued that certificate, and will you ensure that your ministry will assist in the recovery of this person's $7,000?


Hon. Mr. Takhar: Let me assure the member that my ministry is aware of this case. This case is under investigation right now. What we will do is work with this person to make sure that the case does get full attention. I'm not fully aware of the circumstances of this case, but the case is under investigation.

Interjections.


The Speaker (Hon. Michael A. Brown): We're having way too many private conversations around this place. If you want to have other conversations, take them outside.