A Cape Town woman has received an undisclosed settlement amount from a car dealership, after she was sold a faulty vehicle five years ago.
Brodie bought a brand new double cab bakkie in 2013 to use for her business, but soon discovered that the vehicle was faulty.
Within a few days, she noticed a knocking noise coming from under the vehicle and noted that it also had a faulty electric window.
Brodie complained to the dealership and distributor of the vehicle for two years before they finally admitted something was wrong with the car.
In 2015, the foreman at the dealership acknowledged serious problems with brakes and steering. The brake pads were fitted incorrectly at an earlier service.
In February 2016, the bakkie went in for 75 000km service, but the brakes and steering failed 10 minutes after collecting the vehicle from the warranty repair.
We hopped on the N1 and we started losing breaks and started losing steering. It was very scary.— Brodie
It said on the windscreen "Wrong brake master cylinder supplied." They had acuatully put the wrong parts into our vehicle, that's why it wasn't fixed. They hadn't shared that.— Brodie
After having no luck with the regional service manager, she went to Motor Industry Ombud to open a case.
The matter was further escalated to National Consumer Commission where she was told she didn't have a case.
Brodie took her appeal to the National Consumer Tribunal in June 2017.
The dealership offered to settle one day before the case was due to be heard on 21 May 2018. She accepted.
While Brodie has been able to buy herself a new car since, not everyone is victorious in such cases.
Consumer journalist Wendy Knowler discuses the lessons that can be learned from this case and shares her expert advice.
1. be patient and don't give up on your case
2. keep a paper trail and all record of your complaints
3. follow procedure and exhaust all avenues with the dealership and distributor before going to the Motor Industry Ombud
4. know your rights and let the dealershipknow that you are aware of your rights (check section 54-56 of Consumer Protection Act)
5. if possible, limit the vehicle usage because if you do return it for a refund you will be charged
She explains that if a vehicle fault involves a safety critical component, then the Motor Industry Ombud recommends that the vehicle be returned.
When it's a safety critical issue, the dealership gets one chance to fix it then then must take the vehicle back. That's how its supposed to work. It's dangerous.— Wendy Knowler, consumer journalist
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