Bakkie turns out stolen

USED-CAR auctions can be a great place to get good deals - but Gift Mokoena was not so lucky .

USED-CAR auctions can be a great place to get good deals - but Gift Mokoena was not so lucky .

Mokoena paid R71478 for a bakkie in March but still has no vehicle .

He received a courier contract and needed a bakkie. But he has lost out on the R12000 a month deal as well as the money he paid to Auction Operation in Lea Glen on the West Rand in Gauteng.

The auctioneers now want to charge Mokoena a further R28 a day for storage for the bakkie they knew he would not be able to register in his name.

Mokoena said he called them first and then went in a day before the auction to view the cars.

"The terms and conditions of their contract were one-sided but I took a chance because in most cases there is nothing wrong with cars sold at auctions," he said.

"I was shocked when traffic officials said the bakkie was reported stolen and had not been cleared."

Mokoena reported this to the auctioneers and they offered to help him, but failed to do do. He suggested that they register the Hyundai bakkie in their business' name. That also failed.

Mokoena said the Bezuidenhout couple who own Auction Operations have washed their hands off the matter and are forcing him to take the bakkie, saying it's his and the traffic department's problem.

Consumer Line took up Mokoena's case with Belinda Bezuidenhout, a director of Auction Operation. She tried to get their attorneys to stop the publication of this article, claiming they had done nothing wrong.

Bezuidenhout said they had tried everything in their power to help Mokoena register the bakkie. She said Mokoena was an unreasonable buyer, who first cancelled and later threatened her staff.

She later contradicted herself by saying she had proof that the vehicle was eventually registered in Mokoena's name, which she offered to fax to us, but did not because there was nothing to send .

She confirmed that they would charge Mokoena a R29 storage fee.

Bezuidenhout said they were within their rights to sell Mokoena the bakkie he cannot register in his name, adding that they had not done anything wrong.

Trying to stop publication of the story Bezuidenhout said: "How silly it would sound to even begin to think of writing an article about Auction Operation.

"It is his and the traffic department's problem. That is the story that you must focus on and not us," she said.

A day later she threatened Consumer Line with legal action if Sowetan published the article.

Before the close of business on Wednesday an Auction Operation employee, who introduced himself as William, offered to register the car in Mokoena's name. This was an hour after Soweta n received a letter from Bezuidenhout's attorney, warning us not to publish.

The Gauteng office of Consumer Affairs has agreed to investigate.