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New vehicle gives buyer bumpy ride

HIS joy at owning a new vehicle straight out of a dealership has turned into a nightmare.

HIS joy at owning a new vehicle straight out of a dealership has turned into a nightmare.

Motsamai Lechalaba, 57, of Kroonstad bought a Ford Kuga 1.6 Eco Boost Trend in September last year from Imperial Ford Kroonstad, Free State, but has not actually enjoyed the pleasure of his new ride.

The businessman, who pays a monthly instalment of R6350, has been been left begging friends to help him get around.

Within two weeks of taking possession of the vehicle, Lechalaba says he started experiencing problems.

One morning his wife could not start the car, and it had to be towed to the dealership's workshop to be jump-started.

"The air conditioner automatically switched on-and-off and the right hand window also started malfunctioning," Lechalaba saysd.

It was at this stage that he decided to return the car to the dealership. Lechalaba was exercising Section 56 of the Consumer Protection Act, which allows him to return goods of a poor quality.

But Imperial Ford Kroonstad refused to exchange the vehicle. Instead, the dealership blamed Altech Netstar who had installed a tracking device in the vehicle.

Marlene Horn, the customer relations manager at the dealership, says she is aware of the problem. She says they had initially replaced the vehicle's battery in the hope that it would resolve the problem.

But Horn later claimed technicians who had fitted a tracking device after the vehicle had been purchased had severed a wire that affected the pulling power from the body electronic control module. She says this had ultimately ran the battery down.

But Lechalaba disputed this. He says the tracking device was only installed three weeks after he started experiencing problems with the car.

"Am I asking too much when I demand a replacement with a good quality, working car that is free of any defects?" he asks.

Horn said fitment of the tracking device was not compliant with Ford's requirements. "Any cutting into the wiring harness voids the vehicle electronic warranty."

She says they decided not to work on the car because of the way in which the tracking unit had been fitted.

After speaking to Consumer Line, Horn agreed to take up Lechalaba's inquiry to her managing director to reconsider their decision.

Dirk Zeelie, a technical supervisor at Altech Netstar, said he could not comment.


QUESTION: What is a warranty and how long does it last?

ANSWER: We buy TVs, PlayStations and other electrical appliances we cannot live without, but all these appliances and well-designed products - including cars - could have a defect when manufactured.

This is why manufacturers will include a warranty leaflet in the boxes of the appliances stating they will stand behind their product if it breaks.

Sadly, these written warranties have a short life span, and only run from three months up to two years.

So it is important to read your warranty to see what is covered and what is not.

All goods have an implied warranty.

An implied warranty means the manufacturer warrants that the goods are of a quality standard, in good working order and free of any defect.

You can also buy an extended warranty on the expiry of your written warranty.

Don't buy electrical appliances and put them away for years before testing to see that if they work as you may not claim any repairs or exchange later than the warranty date .

In most cases, warranties do not cover damage caused by electricity or lightning.

By buying surge plugs you can cushion your loss as the manufacturer of these plugs assures consumers that their electrical appliances will not be damaged during a surge.

A surge plug warranty will cover loss or damage occurring as a result of an electrical surge.

If goods are damaged, they offer to replace the damaged goods or offer compensation of up to R20000.


For more stories like this one, be sure to buy the Sowetan newspaper from Mondays to Fridays

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