The purchase of defective or previously accident damaged motor vehicles seems to be a hot topic at the moment.
Why this would be the situation we are not sure; but in some ways is not surprising.
At The Legal Advice Office; we receive many complaints on a weekly basis from clients who have bought new and used motor vehicles which are giving them major problems with defects or are damaged in one way or another; or in some case the new owners discover after the sale that the motor vehicle they have bought was previously involved in a serious accident and this fact was never disclosed to them.
You do not have to accept this situation.
There are remedies available to you.
The first point that we would want to make; is that it does not matter whether it is a new car or a used car; the Common Law of contract and the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) still applies.
The Consumer Protection Act, No 68 of 2008 (CPA); which came into effect at midnight on the 31st March 2011 has changed consumer law in the RSA irrevocably.
Secondly; if you find yourself in this position; we would strongly advise that you do not try and deal with the situation yourself.
It is essential that you get proper professional legal advice and assistance in resolving this issue. Here is a lot at stake.
As we have mentioned before; you have to follow a formal legal process to enforce you rights of a repair, a replacement or a refund in these circumstances.
Normally; you also only have six months from the date of sale to enforce those rights in terms of the CPA.
Subject to certain conditions; you have the protection of the common law for three years from the date of sale.
Although you can use the Ombudsman’s Office to try and resolve these matters; we find that they are not very reliable and only have a mediation function which goes nowhere if the dealer does not play ball.
We can assist; but need to advise you along the following lines:
Firstly; you only have a claim against the dealer that you bought the vehicle from.
Your claim is based on the Consumer Protection Act No 68 of 2008.
We prefer to use both the common law and the CPA if we can.
Secondly; your rights are briefly as follows:
If the dealer knew of the defect or should have known of its existence you automatically have the protection of the common law.
If the vehicle was defective/damaged at the time of purchase; you have the choice of repair, replace or refund at the dealers expense in terms of the CPA.
Whatever the basis of your protection might be one must remember that this is a formal legal process and must be attended to properly, efficiently and professionally.
As far as the process is concerned:
You would have to instruct us by email to do an intervention; which will take a week; and will also cost R 4000.00. This sum includes both the intervention and the costs of the letter of demand. This sum will also have to be paid to the credit of our bank account before we start the intervention process for you; but will be reclaimed from the dealer in terms of our formal letter of demand.
We would then need from you in one e-mail; the proof of payment for this sum; plus all the details and contact details of the buyer (yourself or the actual buyer); and your/their address and occupation.
We will also need all the details of the dealer including their address, postal address, telephone and fax numbers, e-mail addresses etc.
In addition; we will need the full description of the vehicle and its VIN and registration numbers; the account number of the financial institution or credit provider, if it was bought on credit; and lastly a complete list of all the defects in the vehicle.
As stated above we will claim back the R 4000.00 from the dealer in terms of the letter of demand and will threaten them with a summons should they fail to comply with the formal demand.
We will also need your clear instruction by email for either a repair, a replacement or a refund; as referred to above.
Please visit our website at www.legaladviceoffice.co.za for more detail on our services and how we operate.
Should you have any queries please contact our offices in that regard.
Should you otherwise wish to comment on this or any other legal topic; just send us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will respond within 48 hours.
The Legal Advice Office Team.