IN APRIL Consumer Line warned readers to be careful when they buy second-hand vehicles from dealers in Gezina Street in Tshwane.

Most second-hand car dealers in that street have been accused of swindling clients.

Consumers have accused Dean Westhuizen of JD Auto of being a con artist and liar.

Westhuizen took about R150000 from consumers and has not given them their cars.

Jabulile Mkhatshwa of Lavender in Mpumalanga is one of three consumers battling to recover her money.

Mkhatshwa was recovering from an accident when she saw an automatic Mercedes-Benz for sale at JD Auto.

She said she paid a holding deposit of R1500 in January . She paid the balance of R54500 within seven days.

She could not take delivery of her Merc on January 24 because there was a problem with the starter.

Mkhatshwa kept enquiring and at one stage Westhuizen invited her to collect the car though the starter had not been fixed.

"He is a liar and a con," she said.

Mkhatshwa said West-huizen gave her the documents to transfer the car into her name, which she did. But on her return he said the car had been sent out for a service. She left without the car.

"I have spent a lot of money hiring a driver and travelling to his place for nothing," Mkhatshwa said.

In March she was told to collect her car. When she got there Westhuizen called a mechanic for no apparent reason, she said.

"I then cancelled the deal and demanded my money back. I have not received it though he promised to pay me on April 22," Mkhatshwa said.

Phineas Masilele is another victim.

He bought a Nissan Hardbody from Westhuizen in August 2009 for R46000.

He paid the dealer the full purchase amount.

Two days after taking it home the vehicle started smoking.

"It was smoking like a goods train. I called him and he told me to bring it back," Masilela said.

He said Westhuizen apologised for not servicing the vehicle and asked for a further R10000 in exchange for a Mazda. Masilela paid it. He was told to collect the van a day later. But when he got there he was told that the Mazda had been sold.

This money was compensation he had received from the Road Accident Fund for damages he suffered when a drunk driver drove into him.

Masilela said each time he asked about his vehicle Westhuizen told him to collect it, but each time he got there there was no car.

Poppy Mphatsoe said she was also taken for a ride.

Mphatsoe paid Westhuizen a R6000 deposit for an Audi A3 in January. She was told to pay the balance of R30000 within seven days. She did.

"When I went to collect the car the starter was faulty and I could not drive it."

A week later he had still not replaced the starter.

The odometer reading was more that the 145000km Westhuizen had mentioned when the deal was sealed , Mphatsoe said.

"The car had clocked 219000km," he said.

After the starter was fixed, the car started smoking. Westhuizen told her that was because he had just changed the oil.

"I took it to an Audi dealership and was told the turbocharger was worn out and it would cost R15 000 to replace," Mphatsoe said.

The water pump also needed to be changed, she said.

"When I told Westhuizen, he said I bought the car voetstoots. That was the first time he mentioned that," she said .

Mphatsoe said Westhuizen offered to sell the car for her. He sold it, but did not pay her.

Last Monday he asked her to collect her money. Her husband went instead , but returned without the money .

"As a delaying tactic he got someone to pretend that he was selling a car, which he offered to us, to distract us from demanding our money," Mphatsoe said.

She said the offer came after her husband had waited for five hours for an administrator to go to the bank, she said.

Mphatsoe said the tactic worked because he persuaded them to accept the car, which could not be delivered since he did not have its papers.

Westhuizen made her drive again to Pretoria to collect the car on Friday when he had no intention of handing it over.

"I am tired of this man and reporting it to the police did not help since they seem too scared to do anything," Mphatsoe said.

The three have reported the matter to the police who did nothing because, they said, it was a civil matter.

Consumer Line has also been fed lies.

"You must understand ma'am that I bank with Absa and they are with either Standard Bank or FNB, so their money will show within 24 hours," Westhuizen said.

He said he could not fax proof of payment since he did not have a fax machine. But he had received our faxed communication .