Keep an eye open for dodgy dealers

THE second-hand car market is becoming filthier by day and it would seem this industry is getting away with murder.

THE second-hand car market is becoming filthier by day and it would seem this industry is getting away with murder.

Consumers accuse some second-had car dealers of selling them cloned vehicle, some say dealers have not given them documents and others have been sold stolen vehicles.

Last week we published an article about Anna Lethebe, who accused Motor Scene of withholding her car documents and a duplicate key for nine months without reason.

Lethebe got her papers after Consumer Line's intervention.

Since that story Consumer Line has been inundated with similar complaints from Sowetan readers.

Nkosinathi Shabangu can only produce eNatis record showing that he needs police clearance and a receipt to prove that he paid R16 000 to Collin Rosa of CR Auto Dealers.

He went to this dealership in January to buy a second-hand vehicle to drive while perfecting his driving skills since he had just obtained his driver's license.

Shabangu said he could not take delivery of the vehicle because its front lights were defective.

He was advised to return the next day since they still needed to fix them, he said.

"Tthe next day there was another customer who claimed delivery of the same car I bought and had similar papers as mine," Shabangu said.

He decided to cancel the contract and demanded his money back. He was told to do so in the form of an affidavit.

On coming back from the local police station he was told he would have to wait until they sold the car to another customer.

"I kept the papers to ensure they that they would call me for them once they got a new buyer," Shabangu said.

They in fact called him to bring the car papers the moment they got a new buyer, he said.

The new buyer demanded that they take the car for a police clearance and Rosa obliged.

"Rosa towed it to the police vehicle identification pound and left. The car failed the test," he said.

The police told him it was a stolen vehicle and arrested him instead.

"I was released two hours later after I had told them I was a victim who had almost bought a stolen car from CR Auto Dealers, Shabangu said.

He said the police told him to take it back to CR Auto, which he did.

"On arrival Rosa refused to refund my money, saying the deal was completed because I had taken possession of he car when he towed it to the police pound," Shabangu said.

Rosa has flatly refused to comment.

"I will not answer these allegations I will get my lawyer to talk to you," Rosa said before hanging up.

l Lolla Diphoko of Orlando West in Soweto is stuck with a Mitsubishi truck she cannot drive and has kept in her yard for three years because the owner of Xtreme Cars has bluntly refused to give her the car's documents.

She paid R40 000 for the truck.

Diphoko could not find the owners of Xtreme Cars who had operated at Union Street, Vereeniging.

Consumer Line called this dealership and a woman who refused to identify herself said they were the new owners and hung up.

l Timothy Khafulo of Thokoza on the East Rand is another consumer whose car has become a breeding place for rats.

He bought the car from Bez Motors, an Alberton North car dealer, in March 2006 and paid R15000 for it.

He was told he would get the car's papers a day later but nothing happened.

Each time he enquired about the papers he would be asked to leave his names and home address with the promise that they would register the car in his name.

This never happened.

Stefan van Staden told Consumer Line he did not run his business as Mkhafula has alleged.

"We at Bez Mega Motors do not buy or sell any vehicles that do not have the required documents.

"It is possible that the client misplaced these documents himself. Unfortunately Venita, the salesperson, no longer works for us so we cannot liaise with her to corroborate the story. But the client can visit us so that we can see if we can assist him."

Sam Tebele of the Gauteng Office of Consumer Affairs said they were receiving more and more complaints about dodgy car dealers.

He said the complaints ranged from false documents to defective parts and cloned vehicles.

Tebele warned people not to buy stolen cars.

"If you buy a stolen car you risk losing the vehicle and your hard-earned money, he said.

Tebele said the police could impound the a stolen car and return it to the original owner or the insurance company.

"You will not receive any compensation even if you bought the car in good faith," he said.

Tebele said if you inadvertently bought a stolen or cloned car,you were likely to run into problems when making an insurance claim.

he said the best way to avoid buying a stolen or cloned car is to check the vehicle's registration document.