'They sold me a cloned car'

CAUSE OF TROUBLE: The back view of Xolani Duma's cloned car.
CAUSE OF TROUBLE: The back view of Xolani Duma's cloned car.

NO ONE wants to be sold a stolen or cloned car.

Xolani Duma was even wrongly arrested on car theft charges after buying a car from Hooper's Motors, a Volkswagen dealer in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

Duma bought a black VWPolo in 2008. He drove the Polo around for a year before he discovered that it was a cloned car.

Duma has also been collecting traffic fines for a Mazda 3 clone and for transgressions he had not committed.

He says it was only in November 2009 when he wanted to renew his licence disc that he discovered his car was cloned.

Duma says he was shocked when the officer at the traffic department told him there were discrepancies about the colour of his car.

"They had information of a white Polo, whereas my documents showed I had a black one.

"As a result, they could not renew my licence," he says.

He then notified the dealer about his predicament as they were the ones who had it registered in the first place, Duma says.

However, they failed to do anything about the situation.

The traffic department could only issue a temporary licence for 21 days and refused to issue a permanent one.

He notified Motor Finance Cooperation (MFC), the financier, only to be told not to drive it until Volkswagen had sorted out the mess.

He obliged, but a few months later he took it to a car wash and to run its engine as it had been stationary for a long time.

As the car was being washed, the police impounded it and arrested him for driving a car that was reported stolen, he says.

Duma was later exonerated on all charges after his brother produced proof that he had bought the car and that they had been trying to resolve with Volkswagen.

"When scanning the chassis number, the car shows that it should be a white Polo, but the number plate reveals that I am driving a Mazda 3," Duma says.

"The police could also not find any evidence of tampering and later released me and the car, instructing me to return it to the dealer."

He left it with the dealership who then charged him storage fees for leaving the car on its premises.

"But the MFC agreed to take it back and it has since been in their possession ," he says.

Duma says in March last year he received a letter from the MFC alerting him to the fact that his car had been re-registered.

He says the MFC told him his car and original NaTIS document were still in their possession and they have had not given any consent to have it re-registered.

Although Duma's car has been at the MFC, it has changed ownership three times since May 2010.

Its current owner is a certain Marshall, who took ownership in October 2010.

"In May it was owned by a certain Mqulwana, and ten days later by a certain Khawula," Duma says.

Its service report history is also questionable. It shows that in 2009 he took it in for a 43975km service and in July 2010 for a 33,000km service.

"Its service record also shows that I have travelled 28,000km between July 2 and August 2 in 2010.

"However, all this time his car has been in the MFC pound."

He said the police later found the cloned white Polo but it mysteriously disappeared from their pound.

"The dealer told me they can only re-register the car once they had located the cloned one .

"I also discovered that the cloned car was sold by the same dealer, on the same day I took possession of my car."

"All I want is for Hooper's to take their car and refund all my money," Duma says.

He had to date paid R100,800 while his car is rusting away at MFC's pound, he says.

Mevendree Gopaul of Hooper's Motors said they were investigating Duma's complaint.