Car dealer's Trade Me ad 'indefensible'

By Ben Chapman-Smith

The car was advertised as being a 2005 model, when it was in fact a year older than that.
The car was advertised as being a 2005 model, when it was in fact a year older than that.

An Auckland car dealership has been rapped over the knuckles and ordered to pay compensation for trimming a year off the age of a car it sold through Trade Me.

Glenfield Wholesale Limited, trading as Real Wholesale Cars, sold Bo Zhang a Toyota Alphard for $14,450 in May this year.

The vehicle was advertised on Trade Me as being a 2005 model but when Zhang received the certificate of registration a week after purchase, he found his car was a 2004 model.

He contacted Real Wholesale Cars, who denied the vehicle was a 2005 model and continued to do so for a month.

Zhang went to the Motor Vehicles Disputes Tribunal claiming a remedy under the Fair Trading Act.

A hearing was held in Auckland on September 2 and the tribunal has now released its decision, in which it said Zhang was "most certainly misled into believing he was being sold a 2005 model vehicle".

Real Wholesale Cars' conduct was "indefensible" and "deliberately misleading", the tribunal said in its decision.

The trader's TradeMe advertising, Vehicle Offer and Sale Agreement, and Consumer Information Notice all described the vehicle as a 2005 model.

When asked, the trader produced to the tribunal the Japanese Export Certificate and Import Certificate which showed the vehicle arrived on April 3, 2013 and was described in both documents as a 2004 model.

"The trader could very easily have established the correct year of the vehicle as soon as the purchaser first raised the issue by referring to those documents but for reasons which were not explained to the tribunal, the trader continued to deny the vehicle was a 2004 model and insisted it was a 2005 model," the tribunal said.

"Its conduct in that regard is indefensible and was deliberately misleading. The trader's conduct was certainly the effective cause of the purchaser's loss or damage."

Real Wholesale Cars admitted its mistake and offered Zhang $500 as compensation, which Zhang said was unacceptable.

The tribunal instead ordered Real Wholesale Cars to pay $1,050 as compensation for misleading Zhang.

Zhang also claimed the vehicle was not of acceptable quality at the time of sale, with problems relating to the right hand rear wheel, windscreen wiper blades, drive belt transmission fluid, and air conditioning.

Real Wholesale Cars was also told to pay Zhang $711.54 for repair costs.

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