No spare keys nor papers for new CAR

THE Lithebe family are very worried that their brand new Mercedes-Benz could be stolen because the car dealer refuses to give them a duplicate key.

THE Lithebe family are very worried that their brand new Mercedes-Benz could be stolen because the car dealer refuses to give them a duplicate key.

Masechaba and Michael Lithebe bought a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter worth R400000 from Motor Scene. They paid in two instalments in July 2009. They paid a deposit of R350000, but Motor Scene did not give them a receipt for that amount. They paid the balance before the end of July. Luckily they had paid with bank guaranteed cheques.

They have been driving their car with a temporary driver's permit since July. They only received the original documents on Monday, after Consumer Line's intervention.

The couple's problem started when they told the car dealer that they also wanted to buy a bakkie .

Because of the big deposit they paid Masechaba said Baboo, Motor Scene's owner, offered them a bakkie with the understanding that he would keep the Merc's spare key and papers until the bakkie was paid in full. The bakkie cost R64000 and they would pay the full amount at the end of July, when they paid off the Mercedes, Michael said.

They were not told that the bakkie had previously been involved in an accident.

"There was a funny sound coming from the wheels when the bakkie turned and a squeaky noise when closing the passenger door," Michael said.

"It was only when we arrived home ain Kroonstad that we realised the spare wheel was too big for the bakkie and that the paint was different," Michael said.

He returned the bakkie a week later. Motor Scene accepted it but wanted Michael to pay R12800 for driving it to Kroonstad. He refused .

"The bakkie had been involved in an accident and we were not told," Lithebe said.

"They took the bakkie, but withheld the keys and papers to force us to pay the R12800," Masechaba said.

In November, she said, she lost her only car key .

Motor Scene's Baboo, who did not want to disclose his surname, denied having unlawfully kept the papers. Baboo said the couple left when he wanted to give them the papers a month ago, which left him baffled.

And the spare key? He denied he had kept the spare key or demanded R12800 for the bakkie . Programming a new ignition will cost R4000. The couple said this was unfair because Baboo should give them their key.

The Gauteng Office of Consumer Affairs will investigate an alleged unfair business practice against Motor Scene.

X