Consumer refunded for dodgy car

This dealership did not want this story to appear in the paper.   / SUPPLIED
This dealership did not want this story to appear in the paper. / SUPPLIED

Whether you are dealing with a smooth salesman or a heartless car dealer, the Consumer Protection Act gives you more rights than you might realise.

Take the case of Matome Rapholo, who was sold a wreck of a car and battled for two months to resolve the case.

The seller, Barend Wolfaardt, of Gys Pitzer Motoring, situated at 803 Steve Biko Drive in Wonderboom, would not have refunded Rapholo R189000 if Consumer Line had not run his story .

Wolfaardt urged Rapholo to retract his story in exchange for a full refund. However, the Consumer Protection Act states that a consumer has the right to a fair and honest deal.

It further states that it is illegal for a supplier to take advantage of the fact that the consumer was substantially unable to protect his own interests or made to sign away his or her rights.

Rapholo, 33, of Botlokwa in Limpopo, said he was sold a defective BMW in April, and later discovered the car had been repaired with parts from various other vehicles.

The father of two said he saved up R200000 so he could buy a car for cash, while furthering his studies.

He shopped around and saw his dream car displayed for R185000 at Gys Pitzer Motoring. According to the car's odometer, it had clocked up 125000km and it had no roadworthy certificate.

Rapholo said he experienced problems on the day he took delivery of the car and later took it back when it lost power. He then discovered it had previously been involved in an accident and its meter reading had been reduced by 105000km.

An Automobile Association (AA) report also revealed the car's engine made an excessive squealing noise.

"It had signs of repair work in the engine compartment and the air box securing screws [did] not fit," he said.

Rapholo said the AA could not complete the diagnostic test due to a vehicle communication error.

On reporting this to Wolfaardt, Rapholo was offered a R7000 discount, which he refused.

When Consumer Line approached Wolfaardt for comment, he offered to refund Rapholo's money in full. He also denied the car had been involved in an accident, or that they had tampered with the odometer.

Wolfaardt tried to stop the publication of Rapholo's story .

"We will pay the full amount once-off, no instalments. The agreement to cancel is on condition that you do not publish any story in your newspaper. Please confirm whether you will be running his story, regardless of whether we refund him," Wolfaardt said.

"Any publication, whether we refund him or not, will still create a negative perception with the general public.

"Therefore the agreement is subject to no publication . and our decision to cancel the agreement is merely because we are a reputable dealer and would like to keep it that way. Most dealers only cancel if the ombudsman or a court compels them to do so," Wolfaardt said.

However, the Consumer Protection Act states that if, within six months after purchase, the goods are found to be defective or not suitable for the purpose for which they were bought, the consumer is allowed to have it replaced, repaired or to be refunded the full amount if the dealer fails to remedy the defect.

Rapholo thanked Consumer Line for its help.