Beware of being sold a dud for a car

Thuli Zungu Consumer Line
AutoVision in Witbank where Beauty Mtsweni bought her Jetta 6.
AutoVision in Witbank where Beauty Mtsweni bought her Jetta 6.

For women if you want to buy a second-hand car I advise that you take along a friend who is knowledgeable about cars to assist you with infection before taking delivery.

If you don't have such a friend, ask Dekra - an AA partner - to inspect and do roadworthy tests on the car for you to avoid misery.

Within a day after taking delivery of her Jetta 6 in January, Beauty Mtsweni, 46, of Del Judor township, Emalahleni, started to pick up some faults in the car she purchased from Auto Vision in Witbank.

She has only driven her car for a few trips and it is already a total wreck with broken gasket, water leaks, worn-out brake pads and a blown out engine.

Mtsweni said a day after buying her car she decided to drive it to her parents' to show them her new set of wheels.

While there, her brother took it for a short spin and he noticed the wheels were not properly aligned, a noisy fan and nonfunctional hooter, among other things, she said.

"Upon opening the bonnet, my brother discovered that the fan was not an original one," she said.

The car was taken back to the dealer the following Monday, and they kept it until March when it was returned, still with a problem.

Because Mtsweni did not know that the Consumer Protection Act empowers her to return the defective car for an exchange, repair or refund within six months, she was made to buy defective parts to try to fix the car.

When the car was released to her after three months it was still not in a good condition, she said.

"As it was due for a service I thought maybe taking it to VW McCarthy for a service would assist, but I discovered the worst," she said.

Mtsweni took R150 000 cash, a portion of her pension payout, to buy the car but she insists the car was not worth the amount she paid on it.

She has driven the car for less that five months but was shocked when the dealer told her she won't get any help any more as it has exceeded the six months to benefit from their prescribed warranty.

"They kept the car for three months, so this warranty should be extended as the vehicle was with them all along," said Mtsweni.

Phillip Swanepoel of Auto Vision pre-owned vehicles, acknowledged that there were problems that Mtsweni raised and, out of goodwill, he assisted her at no cost.

Swanepoel said after a retest the car was found to be suitable for use on public roads.

He added that the warranty stipulated in the CPA was six months, and at the time of the complaint Mtsweni had been in possession of the car for seven months and had accrued 18109km.

"This proves that the car was usable for the time prescribed by CPA," he said.

Swanepoel said their policy was never to turn a client away and that they have never refused to assist clients.

"In the light of the above, the dealer has no further obligation to assist with any repairs or cancel the agreement," said Swanepoel.

Mpumalanga Consumer Protector, Nation Nkosi, said they will investigate the matter.

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