Contract terms key to solving a problem

Brian Joss

I have a built-in BS detector and nine times out of 10 I can detect when a reader is not giving the full story.

Let me be clear, they’re not telling lies, they’re just leaving out the important bits.

Tajoodien Badroodien, from Lansdowne, said he was a long-time fan of Off My Trolley and now he was in need of my assistance.

He bought a bakkie from Wingfield Motors in Goodwood, around November 2019.

“The bakkie was checked, everything worked, and we were happy with it. My son wanted to drive it but I was on the road at the time so I told him to use the spare key we had at home.

He put the key into the ignition and it didn’t want to turn at all. I then took the bakkie to a locksmith and he said the two keys were from two different Nissan bakkies. I contacted the salesman at the dealership on June 12 this year. He said he would speak to the dealer principal and get back to me, which he did within the hour and told me that they couldn’t do anything as I had already bought the bakkie.

“That same day I called the dealer principal to find out what’s happening. He was extremely arrogant,” Mr Tajoodien claimed, “and he did not help or want to help me at all. He just pushed that because I signed the papers, I bought it like that, but as a dealership, surely he had to check the key.”

According to Mr Badroodien a new key would cost about R1 000.

Dealer principal Derick Janse van Rensburg replied to my email within 20 minutes, sending documentation to support his reason for declining Mr Badroodien’s request.

Mr Janse van Rensburg confirmed that Mr Badroodien bought the bakkie in November 2019.

“Mr Badroodien did not want to pay the full price on the vehicle nor any of the standard costs and he agreed to take the vehicle as it is with no warranty, no roadworthy and no duty to repair (as shown on the document) which also reflects that both parties, the salesman and Mr Badroodien, checked the status of the vehicle including the spare keys,” Mr Janse van Rensburg said, and added that he offered to assist.

Mr Badroodien “using our suppliers to fix the problem at our rates, but the cost will be for his account”. Which Mr Badroodien rejected.

Wingfield Motors does comply with the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), Mr Janse van Rensburg said. “The complaint was raised after the six-month period so the CPA is not applicable.”

Under the hammer

Buyer beware: that’s the lesson a consumer learnt after he bought a TV at an auction and to his dismay found that it was faulty only after he plugged it in at home.

The buyer contacted the Consumer Goods and Services Ombudsman (CGSO).

Even though the manufacturer’s warranty was still in place neither the maker or the supplier (the auctioneer) were prepared to honour it.

The auctioneer referred the customer to the manufacturer who said the 24-month guarantee is not transferable and only applies to the first buyer who bought it from an authorised dealer.

The ombud said there were three legal aspects to it: sections 55 and 56 of the CPA says the consumer has a right to expect goods that are in good working order for six months – specifically excludes goods bought at auction; Section 61, holds anyone in the supply chain liable for damages caused by defective goods, even if the supplier was not negligent unless it would have been unreasonable to expect the auctioneer to know about the fault in his role as the supplier; however, regulation 44(3)(* ) provides that a term in a consumer agreement is presumed unfair if it restricts the consumer’s right to re-sell the goods by limiting the transferability of any commercial guarantee provided by the supplier or manufacturer.

Despite the exclusion, an auctioneer must still comply with section 41, which prohibits making false, misleading or deceptive claims in the marketing of goods and services, or knowingly misrepresenting the quality of the goods put up for sale at an auction.

The ombud advised the complainant to seek recourse from the auctioneer, depending on what the auctioneer said during his sales pitch.

The CPA affords the consumer the right, with the assistance of an expert, a reasonable amount of time, to inspect the goods before the start of the auction.

Email the CGSO on mailto:info@cgso.org.za or sharecall 0860 000 272 (CPA) or 011 781 2607 or visit www.cgso.org.za for help and advice.

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