Misery over 'faulty' engine

Thuli Zungu Consumer Line
Sowetan reader Remember Khosa has lodged a complaint with the Gauteng Consumer Protecor over the engine she bought for her Toyota RunX.
Sowetan reader Remember Khosa has lodged a complaint with the Gauteng Consumer Protecor over the engine she bought for her Toyota RunX.
Image: Supplied

Remember Khosa is livid after Japan Auto Trading apparently sold her a defective second-hand engine for her Toyota RunX and now they want to refund her R2,000 from the R17,500 she paid.

However, the new Gauteng Consumer Protector, Sanele Mthuli, has promised his office would investigate her claim of unfair business practice.

Khosa, 29 of Diepsloot, north of Johannesburg, said the dealer has to comply with the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) in that they gave her an engine which was not suitable for the purpose for which it was intended.

"The engine did not last more than a minute after it was assembled because it had a funny noise when my mechanic tried to start it," Khosa said.

The mother of one said though it was a second-hand engine she expected it to be usable and durable for reasonable time and felt she was within her right to return it as the defects showed just a day after delivery.

Section 56 of the CPA states that in any transaction pertaining to the supply of goods to a consumer, there is an implied warranty that the goods are of good quality and in working order and that the consumer has a right to return defective goods within six months after the delivery.

Khosa said upon returning the faulty engine the supplier could not repair it and refused to exchange it and offered to refund her with a sum of R2,000.

She said after paying R17,500 she was handed an invoice by Japan Auto Trading, and a sales consultant only known as Mohammed advised her that she should read through the terms and conditions as reflected on the back of the invoice.

"Clearly, he knew it was faulty because he told the mechanic not to open the engine because if it gives us problems he won't take it back," Khosa said.

However, Mohammed apportioned the blame on Khosa's mechanic who assembled it after she turned down their offer to do it for her. She said they followed the instructions Mohammed gave them and later drove the car for about 500 metres when they found that there's a problem with the engine.

"While driving to test if the engine was functioning to its capacity, the oil light flashed on the dashboard and the mechanic immediately stopped since he realised that the engine was failing to pump oil," Khosa said.

"Two days later, the engine was returned to them in the condition in which it was given to us and was not tempered with. Mohammed and the mechanic then opened the sump to check if the strainer was cleaned before he put the engine on, only to find that there was blockage on the strainer.

"Contrary to his initial advice and terms and conditions that we should not open it, Mohammed changed his tune and said we should have opened the sump and cleaned it and therefore they cannot take the responsibility of the faulty engine," Khosa said.

"When his mechanic asked them to open the top to check if there is nothing broken from it, upon opening the top they discovered that the camshaft was also broken. They asked me to bring my own camshaft so that they can fix their defective engine, but I refused. They are the ones who must fix their engine," Khosa told Consumer Line.

She was told that if she brought her own camshaft the warranty of the engine would not fall out and that she would be covered under the warranty, alternatively she would be given a replacement of a camshaft with no warranty.

"I then opted to buy a camshaft so that it kept its warranty but when the mechanic was busy cleaning the engine he discovered that there was another broken part," Khosa said.

She said her mechanic was also abused and called names.

Mohammed confirmed that when they inspected the engine by removing the sump they found that the oil strainer was clogged. He said the clogging happens when an engine stood for too long without it being started, thus causing the cylinder head to be starved of oil which in turn caused damage to the camshaft.

"I gave them various options and explained verbally what are the requirements of fitting a replacement engine as they are second hand and need to be checked by a mechanic prior to fitting it into the vehicle," Mohammed said.

He said he even went to the extent of highlighting the terms and conditions and stressed the importance of reading and understanding the terms .

He said had Khosa and her mechanic read the back of the invoice they wouldn't have had this problem.

"The back of the invoice reads 'check and clean the oil pick up from any oil sludge by removing the sump'," he said.

"Miss Khosa is in breach of the terms and conditions. We have tried to help her further by granting her our options which she refused to take. The option included that they should bring the camshaft from her old engine and to fit it onto the new one without any additional charge and the guarantee will still be applicable," Mohammed explained.

He said the second option was to refund R2,000 in order to compensate her for her time and petrol.

"The third offer was to provide them with a camshaft from our shelf and for them to fit it on with no guarantee. The last one was to provide them with a camshaft from our shelf and have it fitted by our qualified mechanic and thus holding the guarantee again.

"Even after breaking our engine, these options were granted to her but her mechanic motivated her to refuse and they were stern on the mindset of forcing another engine out of us. If her mechanic had done his job properly by cleaning the oil pick up, there would not have been this situation."

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