Second-class treatment from second-hand supplier

Thuli Zungu Consumer Line
Seabi Tsotsotso of Virginia in Free State is still waiting for his refund from Engine Source in Western Cape, after they did not deliver his order.
Seabi Tsotsotso of Virginia in Free State is still waiting for his refund from Engine Source in Western Cape, after they did not deliver his order.

Replacing worn-out car parts is more expensive if the car is no longer on a motor plan.

Some consumers opt for second-hand parts, often sourced at scrapyards, but this can be risky as such goods tend not to have a warranty or the option of exchange in the event that they are later found to be defective.

Worse still is when the service provider is in another province and fails to deliver after receiving payment.

A case in point is that of Seabi Tsotsotso, 59, of Eureka Park, in the Free State town of Virginia. Tsotsotso was ripped off after paying a deposit of R2000 for an engine he wanted from Engine Source, a Western Cape second-hand supplier in Somerset West, Gordon's Bay and Cape Town.

Tsotsotso said he bought a second-hand Ford Figo for his daughter five years ago.

The car had been serviced by a mechanic and had not had any problems until a radiator started to leak.

He said they did not know what caused the damage, but thought the mechanic had fixed it until one day his daughter noticed smoke blowing out of the engine.

A fellow motorist who assisted her said the engine had probably blown up and it would be expensive to have it repaired.

"The mechanic also confirmed that he needed a new engine as the damage could not be repaired," Tsotsotso said.

He went to Ford and was quoted R45000 for a new engine, which he could not afford.

Tsotsotso said he then surfed the internet looking for a second-hand engine and left his details on the websites of prospective suppliers.

A few hours later he received a phone call from Dillen Beukes of Engine Source, who said he had the engine and needed a courier amount of R2000 before he could process Tsotsotso's order.

"I was glad to get it for R11500, which included the courier fee," said Tsotsotso.

He deposited the required amount and was to take delivery a day later, he said.

The engine was to be delivered at the mechanic's workshop where the balance of R9500 was to be paid on delivery, but this did not happen, he said.

On inquiring the following Monday, Tsotsotso was told Engine Source no longer had the engine and he would get his refund.

"A month later I'm getting the run-around as Dillen keeps on telling me he will transfer it back into my account," Tsotsotso said.

He later discovered that Beukes had allegedly defrauded more people who have since posted complaints on and on other websites where consumers were warning prospective buyers not to fall victim.

Beukes denied he was a con artist.

He confirmed that he had called and offered Tsotsotso the engine he was looking for but argued that Tsotsotso did not pay the full amount.

"It's very risky to send an engine to someone you don't know and [have] never met.

"How sure are you he was going to pay the balance on delivery?" asked Beukes.

He said he could not refund Tsotsotso because his boss has been overseas since January 15 and no one else at the company was authorised to make the repayment.

He acknowledged that his boss was away when he received Tsotsotso's deposit, but insisted that only his boss had the right to authorise a refund.

Beukes later said Tsotsotso entered into a contract in which a deposit was not refundable, however Tsotsotso said he did not sign such a contract and that no one told him the deposit was not refundable.

Though he agreed to refund Tsotsotso the full amount, Beukes only deposited R500 into Tsotsotso's account and blamed the hiccup on his partners who were delaying the refunding process.

Tsotsotso confirmed receipt of the R500 and awaits a full refund.