Pitfalls when buying a motorcar

Dear reader,

The motor vehicle industry is totally profit driven and with the weakening of the economy and amount of used car dealers and individual car stands it is obvious that there is tremendous competition in the used vehicle market and dealers will be offering good deals in an effort to move units.

Buyers of used vehicles should be extra careful in the selection of the dealer as well as the vehicle.

Although the Consumer Protection Act is an excellent protection meganism it is still not the best solution or method of protection against unscrupulous dealers and business transactions as it is still a very time consuming and lengthy process to try and resolve a dispute with a dealership.

Over the past eighteen months it became evident that about eighty five present (85%) of the consumer complaints received from our clients were complaints regarding used vehicles and the balance was new vehicles.

DON’T BUY VEHICLES FROM SUSPECT COMPANIES

Adhering to the following few simple rules can save the buyer a lot of trouble, anger, time, tears and money.

  • Ensure you are dealing with a honest dealer who is part of a reputable organisation
  • Make sure you read and understand all the documentation before you sign any documents.
  • If you are not sure of certain clauses, take it home and get a knowledgeable person to go through it with you and explain the detail to you, play safe and do not regret your ignorance at a later stage.
  • Be patient and keep in mind that it’s your time and your money. Don’t let anybody rush you into a decision, the salesman get paid to assist you, if you walk out he will lose a deal.
  • If you are unsure, have a knowledgeable person to accompany you and help check the vehicle before you make a decision.
  • If you are in any doubt rather shop around for a vehicle that suits you better.
  • Keep copies of all your documents you are requested to sign as well as the invoice, roadworthy document and insurance contracts and certificates. 
  • You can also request the dealer to take the vehicle for a technical inspection and repair the faults at their expense but you will have to pay for the inspection. There are reputable companies who can assist with technical inspections.
  • Always check the vehicle’s vin number with the agents to verify that you do get the exact vehicle as specified on the invoice, It can easily happen that you pay R10,000-00 more for a vehicle if it is specified incorrectly.

Adhering to the above few rules will certainly save the consumer a lot of time, money and annoyance.  

If you hear or see any of the following clauses in your document, please do not continue with the transaction as you are surely going to regret that you ever entered into the transaction.

  • The vehicle is sold “voetstoots”.
  • You buy it as it is.
  • I will give you R 3000-00 discount if you do the roadworthy and registration.
  • This vehicle is a code 3 but it is in a pristine condition.
  • Our vehicles are guaranteed for thirty days.
When signing a document with any of the above clauses you will struggle to prove that you are entitled to the protection of the Act , rather be safe than sorry and shop around for a better transaction.

82 thoughts on “Pitfalls when buying a motorcar

  1. Najwaa says:

    I bought a Car in November last year (2013). I’ve never received my papers of ownership. I have been back continiously and all they said was they waiting on it. So yesterday (22/02/2014) I went back yet again, and now I’m told the previous owner is out of the country, and now there fines and warrants on this vehicle that is outstanding therefore transfer cannot take place. The Vehicles Licenses expires the 28/02/2014 and now I’m in serious panic mode, as what his now saying is he’ll see that it gets paid and sorted, but how if there fines and warrants???

    Your help would truly be appreciated.

  2. PJ Botha says:

    I have an American Express platinum credit card offered through Nedbank, I was stuck in the Seychelles on praslin island in Jan’14, unable to book out my hotel or draw cash as none of the banks, hotels or travel agents will accept my Amex card, I had my kids & wife with me & tried to phone the customer service to transfer funds to my wife’s blue bean card at Std bank with special clearance ,their staff were not prepared to help at all, I am disgusted that I have a card that can not be used everywhere & their bad service, they have created a lot of stress for me & wasted my valuable holiday time trying to find a bank that would help, 5 hours wasted time and many expensive calls, I will not accept being ignored or that they refused to help and give service when I needed it, as money was transferred to this Amex card to use, which I could not access. I am cutting up my card/ closing the card warn others all over the Net . I got back to SA and no one bothered to come back to me, apologize or assist/address my concerns in Seychelles or since I am back home. Since they have so little regard for their customers, I will now take the necessary steps to have my card cancelled and tell others of my experience all over the internet. I do not wish to deal with companies who do not value the needs of their customers or who do not care for their customers. I am truly disgusted in their lack of care and service delivery. Do yourself a favor DO NOT get an American Express Card to travel with as it is not accepted readily. when you in trouble abroad they also do not help. Their service is really bad, this was the third international trip with this card, which was a nightmare. Rather go for an ordinary Master or Visa card that is accepted worldwide.

  3. admin says:

    Dear consumer,

    We are specialists in the motor vehicle industry and would rather suggest that you take the matter up with Nedbank, we can assist you with a mediation process but the banks will quickly try and get the matter to the banking ombudsman.

    Regards,

    Duon.

  4. admin says:

    Dear Consumer,

    I am not sure whether someone answered you directly or not.

    In my view the dealer is responsible for the fines etc and he must supply you with all the registration documents.

    If you need more assistance please contact our case administrator at info@saconsumercomplaints.co.za

    Regards,

    Duon.

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    Dear reader,

    Thanks for the positive feedback on the site we really appreciate your support.

    Kindest regards,

    Duon Odendaal.

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  11. admin says:

    Dear reader,

    The main idea behind this website is to inform the South African motoring public to understand their rights and how to prevent expensive mistakes.

    Thanks for your comment.

    Kindest regards,

    Duon Odendaal.

  12. Firoz says:

    I bought a brand new car and as I was driving home I notice I felt a bit dizzy with the windscreen. I thought it’s just my eyes getting used to it..I called the salesman and he said he will check it out…it’s a week later and I realise that the windscreen is actually warped on the one side…I went to another dealership with the same brand and they definitely say that there is a problem… I will go to the dealer this week…what are my rights here can I demand that I want a new vehicle as I paid for one that’s supposed to be with no faults and a replacement windscreen will not do!

  13. admin says:

    Dear consumer,

    The dealer will replace the windscreen in terms of the warranty but will never cancel the deal due to a faulty windscreen.

    The best will be to have it replaced as soon as possible.

    Regards,

    Duon Odendaal.

  14. admin says:

    Dearreader,

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    Please let me know what browser you are using?

    Kind regards,

    Duon.

  15. Feroza says:

    hi. I had purchased a new Foton double cab 2.2 vehicle in jan 2011 and 6 months thereafter had problems with rust which took 6 months to attent to. A year after purchase i noticed more rust and it has now taken almost 2 years for rust claims to be eventually submitted. I handed in my vehicle on 18 November for the rust problems to be attended to. I have been called twice since to collect my vehicle only to find more damages to my vehicle while in the possession of the dealership(cracked windscreen, burst exhaust,changed cluster, door panels and fender panels not aligning, broken seat adjuster levers, electric windows not working, reverse lights and indicator lights not working – to name a few).Jan 2014 my warranty has expired and the dealership refuses to attend to damages on my vehicle and informed me they will charge me storage space. I have not had my vehicle in my possession since November 2013. I have asked the dealer to replace my vehicle as it is in a worse condition than when i had initially handed in my vehicle – they have refused. What can i do 😥 😥

  16. admin says:

    Dear reader,

    Your situation is quite bleak as the vehicle was purchased before the promulgation of the Act and the NCC may reject the matter based on this fact.

    You are welcome to contact our case administrator with a detailed description and time-line of the events as to allow us to see if there is any possible loopholes to get the dispute resolved.

    Please send an mail to info@saconsumercomplaints.co.za for an proper evaluation of the facts.

    Kind regards,

    Duon Odendaal.

  17. Feroza says:

    Hi

    I have already submitted a time – line of event related to my vehicle problems together with a list of organisations/persons that i have approached for assistance ( reference numbers were included). I have received a S A Consumer Complaints ticket number: 516950 but no feedback as yet.

    Many thanks

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  19. admin says:

    Dear reader,

    Hope this information will save you some trouble in future and assist you with a better understanding of your consumer rights.

    Kind regards,

    Duon Odendaal.

  20. admin says:

    Dear Reader,

    My sincere apologies if we missed your complaint, please be so kind and contact the case administrator at info@saconsumercomplaints.co.za with a request to assist you with all the information needed.

    Kindest regards,

    Duon Odendaal.

  21. Rupert Fourie says:

    I bought a BMW f650GS 2008 model motor bike from a motorcycle dealership in Randburg on 22 April 2014, I traded my old bike and paid the difference in cash on the day. Due to the low kilometres on the bike I inquired if it was in an accident and the salesman confirmed it was not. I took the bike back due to a vibration and the balanced the front wheel, after this was done the ABS light kept on going on and due to the fact that the bike needed its annual service I took it to BMW in fourways. on 6 may 2014. They informed the afternoon that they cannot release the bike due to serious irregularities on the front fork, and that they noticed that some other things and are also needing attention. They will need about two weeks to give me a report on what needs attention. I have made contact with the dealership but I only get promises that the owner will phone back, but he never does. Please let me know what I can do and how this is addressed in the consumer protection act

  22. admin says:

    Dear Rupert,

    The Act is clear that any product must be safe, of good quality and must be usable for a reasonable period.

    Further to the above all products must carry a minimum warranty of six months.

    In your case I would argue that the bike does not comply with the standards set in the Act and therefore they must assist with the dispute by doing one of the following things:
    1) Repair to an acceptable condition.
    2) Replace the product with a product of similar value.
    3) Refund the consumer and cancel the agreement, this option may become an issue in some cases.

    Should you require more information please contact our case administrator at info@saconsumercomplaints.co.za for more information as we prefer not to discuss too much of the consumer’s personal questions in the public domain.

    Kind regards,

    Duon Odendaal.

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  43. admin says:

    Dear reader,

    I am not aware of any other sites with similar information but I believe that you will be able to Google for more information.

    Keep in mind that this website is bases on South African Law and the primary function is to explain the new Act to the public.

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  44. admin says:

    Dear Reader,

    The primary function of the website is to assist the South African public to understand their consumer rights and to assist them to be careful when purchasing a motor vehicle.

    My intention is to replace the blog with short articles on important fact to keep in mind when purchasing a vehicle.

    Kind regards,

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  45. admin says:

    Dear reader,

    Thanks for the comment, keep in mind that the website is totally based on the South African Consumer Protection Act.

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  46. Jimmy tolmie says:

    I have a Hyundai accent, purchased from Hyundai Alberton. I signed a contract with Nedbank at 12.25%. The car is three years old, and is taken over 72 months. I have retired and fjnd the repayments a bit much. Phoned Nedbank today to get clarity and was told the interest is 12.25% per day, that is 36.75% per month, 369% per annum. Surely this is excessive.

  47. admin says:

    Dear consumer,
    My appologies for the late reply, I have noted your complaint during routine maintenance of the website.
    Please be so kind and contact our case administrator at admin@saconsumercomplaints.co.za with regards to
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    Kindest regards,
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Comments are closed.