Mission to fix Mini bought online

We all buy items in good faith; fruit and veg or meat and hope they’re fit for purpose. That you can eat it.

But if you buy a car in good faith, over the internet, without seeing it first, or turning the ignition to hear the rumble of the engine, then it’s asking for trouble.

That’s a lesson Shawn Jacobs of Bishop Lavis learned after he bought a BMW Mini Countryman from InspectaCar/LifeStyle Auto in Centurion, Pretoria. Mr Jacobs said he bought a car previously via the internet without a problem which is why he bought this one “in good faith as well”.

“I bought a 2010 Countryman from Lifestyle Auto and flew there to collect it. I did the deal in good faith, but when I started it, it was smoking. I told the salesman I wanted to cancel the deal but he said the engine had been overfilled with oil during the service and the smoking would stop after the road trip back to Cape Town. But the smoking continued. A few days later I told LifeStyle Auto that the car was still smoking and they arranged for a mechanic, Krish Govender, who has a workshop in Beaconvale, Parow Industria, to collect and repair it at their cost,” Mr Jacobs said.

The worn valve stem seals were replaced but Mr Govender wouldn’t release the car as LifeStyle Auto hadn’t paid him.

“After numerous phone calls LifeStyle Auto eventually paid him. Driving home, the on-board computer registered a fault and diagnostics showed the battery had to be replaced and since I was not prepared to beg LifeStyle for money I paid Mr Govender
R1 500. On the way home another fault was registered and I had to pay R5 400 to replace an electronic component. After that there was a problem with the electronic solenoid that controls the oil pressure but Mr Govender serviced it free of charge. Arriving home from work one afternoon I noticed a trickle of water coming from the engine. The next day the car overheated, I parked it and haven’t driven it since. LifeStyle Auto can take back this piece of crap which is giving me endless headaches,” said Mr Jacobs who said the car he bought was not available in Cape Town.

The car came with a roadworthy issued by VTS SA but no service history. When Mr Jacobs asked for it Lifestyle Auto told him he would have to get it from BMW as it was an import and they serviced it so Mr Jacobs didn’t know how many owners the Countryman with
156 025km on the clock had.

WesBank said Mr Jacobs qualified for the finance. “The approval of vehicle finance is not dependent on whether the buyer has seen it. The customer is appointed as our agent for the delivery of the vehicle and it was his obligation to ensure that the vehicle was in order and to his satisfaction. This obligation was also brought to Mr Jacobs’s attention on the delivery receipt which he signed,” WesBank said.

InspectaCar Ltd is the franchisor to Lifestyle Auto (franchisee).

Franchise manager, Phillipa Bailey, said, they are separate legal entities and the franchise agreement complies with all relevant legislation, and, where necessary, InspectaCar will intervene in customer complaints to facilitate resolutions.

“The first repair was done at Mr Jacobs’s request. The other repairs to the vehicle were also completed and these additional items repaired were wear and tear items. Nevertheless, the dealer attended to them at their own cost, in good faith, and has acted within the parameters of the CPA (Consumer Protection Act). InspectaCar Lifestyle Auto conducted a 160-point check, which the dealer submitted to us for our records. They have demonstrated full willingness to assist the customer and have assisted with all repairs on Mr Jacobs’s vehicle,” Ms Bailey said.

Mr Jacobs confirmed that Lifestyle Auto paid for all the repairs, and in addition, the waterpump and thermostat were also replaced. LifeStyle Auto paid Mr Govender about R3 500, according to Mr Jacobs who added that, ” the car is running now”.