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Car stolen from dealership's workshop

By unknown | Sep 14, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

A TOYOTA dealership has refused to compensate a client whose vehicle was stolen from its premises because their disclaimer exonerates them from liability.

A TOYOTA dealership has refused to compensate a client whose vehicle was stolen from its premises because their disclaimer exonerates them from liability.

Matome Meela's insurance company has also rejected his claim because he had not yet started paying the premiums .

Last month Meela bought a car from a Toyota dealership in Alberton, Gauteng.

He took delivery on August 17. His insurance premiums were to be paid on the 25th of every month.

Sadly, his car was stolen three days after he bought it.

Meela now owes his bank R153000 due to Toyota's negligence, he said.

He said had the car had no defect he would not have taken it back. He had noticed a red light flashing on the dashboard two days after taking delivery.

"I reported it and Toyota told me to bring it in for a service," he said.

His vehicle had only clocked 12000 kilometers and it was not due for a service, he said.

He was told that they would call him when the car was ready but instead of a call telling him to collect his car he was told it had been stolen from the workshop, he said.

Meela said his car was driven by an employee to the service department, which is one floor up. That person left the keys in the ignition.

"They say it is normal practice to leave keys in the ignition but they should have protective measures to ensure cars are not stolen," he said.

Meela said the security guard did not even realise that he had allowed a thug to drive out.

"They could not explain how my car left their premises, but were quick to show me the disclaimer exonerating them from liability," Meela said.

He believes that Toyota has an obligation to take care of him as a valued customer and also of his vehicle while it was in their possession.

"They then told me that they could not track down the thief who stole my car because they do not have surveillance cameras," Meela said.

He said he found it difficult to understand how a thief drove his car from the dealership's first floor, through reception and out of the gate, without anyone noticing it.

"They do not even have demarcations preventing stranger's from entering their workshop," Meela said.

He said they should have foreseen that leaving car keys in the ignition could lead to it being stolen.

And by not having surveillance cameras made it easy for the theft to take place.

"I cannot accept their explanation. They must get me another vehicle at their expense," Meela said.

Just a few minutes after Consumer Line intervened the dealership's sales manager, Willy Engelbrecht, called Meela and demanded that he returns the courtesy car they had allowed him to use for few days.

"The agreement was that I should return the car next Monday, but they want it back now, to spite me for talking about their service to the media," Meela said.

Peter de Villiers, dealer principal, and Jonker van Rensburg, workshop manager, had not responded to our call at the time of publication.

Toyota SA has agreed to investigate Meela's complaint.


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