Deal overheats

Buying a second-hand vehicle could cost you a fortune if you buy in haste. Isaac Mdhluli did not test drive the truck he wanted but relied on the word of the seller that it was 100percent roadworthy.

Buying a second-hand vehicle could cost you a fortune if you buy in haste. Isaac Mdhluli did not test drive the truck he wanted but relied on the word of the seller that it was 100percent roadworthy.

The deal has now lost him R88000, which he is desperate to recover.

Mdhluli drove his newly acquired truck for about 30 minutes before its engine collapsed - and now the seller, Wonderboom Car and Truck, refuses to refund his money.

Mdhluli claims Wonderboom owner Johannes Smith had told him only about a defective hooter and wipers. It was after driving it that he realised that the truck really belonged in a scrapyard.

"I told Smith I had been forced to retire and needed the truck to provide a new source of income by transporting coal.

"On the date of delivery they drove it outside their yard, making me believe it was in order, when in was not."

He drove it a few kilometres from the seller's place and it soon stalled after overheating. Mdhluli left it at a garage in Marlboro.

Smith later towed it from the garage after Mdhluli told him what had happened.

Mdhluli immediately demanded his money back but Smith refused to refund it.

Mdhluli said Smith offered to sell the truck on his behalf only after he questioned the legality of the registration papers belonging to the vehicle.

He said Smith had sold him a Toyota Hino but the truck was registered as a Toyota Dyna when it was transferred to his name.

"I am sure the police would have impounded it because the papers and the vehicle did not correspond," says a distressed Mdhluli.

He says he was also not told he had bought the truck "as is" - nowhere in the vehicle's papers had it stated that - but Smith had then insisted it was a "voetstoots agreement".

Smith tells Sowetan he sells scrap, which he registers in the names of the buyers.

"I sell cars without engines and other parts to buyers voetstoots and Mdhluli bought his under those conditions."

He attributes the discrepancy of the different registered names of the truck to the traffic department.

"The traffic department always makes mistakes, and if Mdhluli was so bothered by the different names he could have changed this himself."

He claims Mdhuli was the cause of the damage to the truck.

"Mdhluli bought a 23-yearold truck and should have expected to inherit such a risk.

"He also drove the truck while it was overheating and this caused the damage."

He says they fixed the truck at their own cost and would refund Mdhuli only after it had been sold. This, he says, should take about a month.

The offices of Gauteng Consumer Affairs have agreed to investigate the transaction to determine whether it was an "unfair business practice".

Meanwhile, Mdhluli can only hope the law will be on his side.

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