John Weekes

John Weekes is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Car dealer told to pay up

Audi owner gets full refund of purchase price.

Aucklander Andre Bodde received a refund for the faulty Audi S4 he purchased.
Aucklander Andre Bodde received a refund for the faulty Audi S4 he purchased.

A prestige car dealer had to refund a top real estate agent $95,000 after a luxury car turned out to be a lemon.

Aucklander Andre Bodde won the payout after a five-month legal battle over his 2010 Audi S4, which he bought for $95,000 in May 2012 from Quattro, trading as Giltrap Autos.

It is the largest payment or refund ordered by the Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal since 2012. Most recent decisions have gone against car buyers.

The tribunal heard Bodde's car troubles began in September 2012 and he made seven visits to Giltrap to get the oil topped up. However, the thermostat failed in January this year, and Bodde took the car back to Giltrap to be repaired. The next day, Bodde, who sold former All Black Ali Williams' Westmere house last year, said Giltrap told him Audi had authorised it to replace the vehicle's engine.

They offered Bodde a 2013 Audi S4 in exchange for his car - if he paid an additional $30,000 - but Bodde refused that offer.

The tribunal heard a subsequent meeting between Bodde and Giltrap degenerated into acrimony. In March, Giltrap told Bodde the car was fixed. It asked him to collect it and return his loan car. He did so on the basis that did not settle the matter.

Later that month, Giltrap's solicitors told Bodde the car dealer did not believe it had to refund the Audi's purchase price.

They said Giltrap already replaced the car's engine block but if Bodde was unhappy, Giltrap would buy the Audi for $70,000, which they said was its current value.

But that didn't wash with Bodde. He appealed to the tribunal, which last month found in his favour. It released its decision this month.

Bodde said he was grateful to friends, including car dealers, who advised him on mechanical issues and consumer rights. He said the decision to go to the tribunal was not taken lightly.

"The way I was treated was utterly unacceptable, which is why I took that stance," he told the Herald on Sunday.

A Giltrap general manger did not respond to interview requests.

Bodde said he had received his refund and returned the car.

- Herald on Sunday

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