'Garage sold me a vehicle that had been in an accident'

When William Phakela bought a Geely sedan last October, he thought it would ease the frustration his sick wife endures using public transport and having to walk long distances.

When William Phakela bought a Geely sedan last October, he thought it would ease the frustration his sick wife endures using public transport and having to walk long distances.

But his thoughtful gesture has caused him stress and sleepless nights. He too is now on medication, he says.

Phakela bought a car from Tiger Car Sales and believes they sold him a vehicle that he now suspects was involved in an accident.

He paid the full purchase price of R94500 and took delivery in November. He says the vehicle has the following defects: it misfires occasionally when idling; the rear silencer has a leak and there is noise coming from under the front wheel.

He noticed these defects a day after he got his car and reported this to the dealer, who offered to fix the problem as the vehicle was still under warranty.

"The vehicle came back boiling and smoking like a goods train," Phakela said.

The vehicle, which had clocked up 1163km only, has since been parked in his garage as the seller has refused to exchange it for a defect-free one.

An Automobile Association report in his possession shows the steering rack has a knocking noise, the air cleaner housing is loose, the housing seal does not close properly, the rear silencer box has a leak, and there are damage marks under the driver's side doors.

Phakela said this report confirmed that Tiger Car Sales had sold him a vehicle that had been involved in an accident.

"I do not think the dealer is fair when he refers me to the manufacturer," Phakela said.

Attie du Plessis of Tiger Car Sales denied that he sold Phakela a vehicle that was previously involved in an accident.

He said it suffered from manufacturer's defects and he could not help Phakela since Geely SA had been liquidated.

"I am struggling to get parts from Geely since they were liquidated," he said, though Geely dealerships still operating are reported to have a substantial stockpile of spares to service the estimated 3000 Geely vehicles on South African roads.

Du Plessis refused to exchange Phakela's vehicle for another one but was nevertheless willing to strip a shock absorber from one of his brand new Geelys to address the defect in Phakela's vehicle.

"I also noted that the second and third gears move at the same speed but there is nothing I can do about it," added Du Plessis.

The Gauteng Office of Consumer Affairs has agreed to look into Phakela's complaint, adding that it is an unfair business practice to sell a car that was involved in an accident and pretend it was new.

Last month a motoring magazine reported that the South African importer of the Chinese-built Geely cars went into liquidation less than two years after opening its doors.

A lawyer dealing with the liquidation said market forces and a downturn in new vehicle sales has led to the bankruptcy of Geely SA which sold a range of budget sedans.

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