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‘Car dealership scammed us’

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“I called the boss, the driver and the landline of the company every day. None of them answered. The landline even went to voicemail.”

THE NEW year started on a sour note for two city residents after they were allegedly scammed by a car dealership in KwaZulu-Natal.

The two residents, who are not related but share a similar experience, said they were scammed out of thousands of rand after they purchased cars in November last year.

According to one of the victims, he saw an advert for a Volkswagen GTI 1.8 on the internet and took an immediate interest in it.

“I was browsing a website that sold cars and came across the car. I saw the kilometres were low and it was selling for R87 000. I made contact with the dealer and we spoke telephonically. I did not think that the person could be scamming me as I had bought my first car online too and everything in that agreement went smoothly.

“The dealer told me that his boss will contact me and we can discuss the delivery of the vehicle. The boss did call me and they said they can deliver the car to me in Kimberley after I told them I could not travel to Pietermaritzburg.

“They indicated that it was not a problem and wanted a deposit of R5 000. I negotiated a decrease in the price of the car. I told them that I only had R80 000. They agreed to the price and on November 2 I deposited the R5 000.”

He said he deposited the outstanding amount of R75 000 three days later, on November 5.

“I received a call from the driver of the truck saying he was going to deliver the car. I was elated, but the driver said he first had to deliver a car in Mpumalanga. He promised that he would thereafter travel to Kimberly to deliver my car. I agreed and waited for him.”

He said the delivery, however, never happened.

“I called the driver the next day and his phone just rang. The boss called me and told me that the truck had been hijacked in Johannesburg and the driver was badly beaten. He said he was on his way to Johannesburg to go see the driver.

“He told me that he had another car, the same model but with a little more kilometres on it, available for me. He said I must deposit another R5 000 and I would have that car. I refused and told him that I had already paid for the transaction and that his contract stated that if I am not satisfied with the purchase they would refund me. I asked for a refund and he gave me the run-around.”

The man said that he made several attempts to contact the dealership, but failed to get hold of anyone.

“I called the boss, the driver and the landline of the company every day. None of them answered. The landline even went to voicemail.”

He said he then went to the police to open a criminal case.

The second victim said she saw an advert in the DFA and took interest in it.

“I saw an advert for a Polo TSI in November and contacted the dealer. The dealer sent me pictures of the car via e-mail and it was the same as the picture I saw in the paper.

“They said that since I stay in Kimberley and they are based in Pietermaritzburg, I would need to pay a deposit as well as a delivery fee.

“I used the Truecaller app and saw that the company was registered. That made me more confident to believe that the company was legit. I then paid a deposit of R12 000 and R2 000 for delivery. The dealer told me that they would be closed over the festive season and would deliver the car on January 22.”

She said the fact that the dealer told her that they would deliver the vehicle at the police station also made her more trusting.

“On January 22 I waited at the Phakamile Mabija police station for hours for the delivery truck. The truck never showed up and when I contacted the relevant persons, none of them answered my calls.”

She added that this was her first time purchasing a car.

“This experience has left a bitter taste in my mouth. I was looking forward to being a car owner. Even my children were so excited and we made financial sacrifices during the festive season in order to pay the deposit and the delivery fee. My children did not mind the sacrifices and were also looking forward to us owning a car.”

The woman said that she also opened a criminal case with the police.

“This matter is not about getting my money back but to put an end to this devious operation. There are probably many others who have fallen into the same trap and others who can be stopped from making the same mistake. People must always make sure they do their homework before entering into such deals,” she warned.