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Motorist turns to ombuds as dealership standoff escalates

Ramovha asked to pay deposit for a new model

Dzivhuluwani Ramovha at the Hatfield VW in Pretoria where he bought his car in 2019. He now claims he has been taken for a ride.
Dzivhuluwani Ramovha at the Hatfield VW in Pretoria where he bought his car in 2019. He now claims he has been taken for a ride.

An unhappy motorist has taken Volkswagen SA to the ombudsman after talks to replace his faulty car with a new one deadlocked. 

Dzivhuluwani Ramovha of Midrand, Johannesburg, took his complaint with VWSA to the Motor Industry Ombudsman of SA (MIOSA) after his meeting with the company's representative two weeks ago where a deal about giving Ramovha a new replacement car was discussed.

They could not agree on the terms of the new deal, resulting in Ramovha seeking an intervention from the ombudsman's office. 

Ramovha had approached Sowetan Consumer last month after the Golf R he had bought from the Hatfield VW in 2019 broke down in September and needed a new engine.

However, the dealership struggled to secure the engine both locally and abroad, causing tensions between them, resulting in Ramovha escalating his desperation to the ombuds office, as he needed a car for work.  

In trying to resolve the matter, Chris Harmse, the dealership's sales manager, said they offered Ramovha a new car at a discounted price but their talks deadlocked. 

“We did indeed offer Mr Ramovha a new deal on a new VW Golf 8 R. However, affordability is a key factor in any transaction. We were able to assist with a certain amount off, but Mr Ramovha was required to pay a deposit for the balance required by the bank. 

“In light of his discontent with his current vehicle, we felt that offering a resolution in the form of a new car was an amicable solution to his concerns. Due to significant price increases from 2019 to 2023, it cannot be expected that a newly launched vehicle would be cheaper than an older model was in 2019 which is the reason for the bank requesting a deposit. Should Mr Ramovha be able to raise the deposit, we will still assist him,” Harmse told Sowetan Consumer. 

Ramovha had previously said he did not want take on a new debt as he was close to paying off his car. 

The car first broke down about four months after he bought it at the same dealership.

At the time, it had a problem with a clutch, which had to be replaced in 2021.

In 2022, the car's gearbox had to be replaced after another fault.

Harmse said they have lived up to their commitments to repair the vehicle as per the Vehicle Assurance Programme and its warranty requirements.

“We understand that Mr Ramovha is not happy with his vehicle but until there is a breach of these terms and while the vehicle is under the factory warranty and the VAP plan, it is required from us to repair, not replace the vehicle. VWSA has honoured this repair."

Ramovha approached the ombudsman's office last week after he and VWSA could not reach an agreement. 

“My car is still with the dealership and I decided to go to MIOSA when I realised that their proposal would not work for me,” said Ramovha. 

MIOSA (Motor Industry Ombudsman of South Africa) is an organisation which regulates the interaction and provides for alternative dispute resolution between people conducting business within the automotive industry and consumers as well as among participants in the automotive and related industries in SA.

Their services are free of charge to the consumer, with the exception of on-site technical inspections, if required.

The office of the MIOSA makes recommendations in cases referred to it where all parties are unable to reach mutually acceptable agreements when a dispute arises.

The MIOSA will not entertain a dispute:

  • Which falls within the mandate of any other ombud whether regulated or recognised by its industry;
  • When legal action has been instituted by either party;
  • When “prima facie” it appears that a criminal offence has been committed by either party;
  • Where it appears from any statute of the Republic of SA that the MIOSA has no jurisdiction; or
  • When a complaint is lodged on the grounds of a delict, saying damages from the other party.

MIOSA can be contacted on 010 590 8378 or at info@miosa.co.za

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