Private car sale strands buyer

Private car sale strands buyer

324101229A Blenheim woman who bought a 1994 Honda Odyssey through a TradeMe auction has been fighting for redress as the vehicle broke down four days after purchase.

Crystal Port told The Marlborough Express she bought the car so she could take her family to Christchurch to visit her father during his cancer treatment, but they only made it to Kaikoura before it broke down.

According to the newspaper, the Odyssey cost Port $1700 and the TradeMe auction had stated “the car rides very smooth, no engine problems whatsoever.”

The car had been taken for a test drive before purchase, and was not said to have any problems in the auction.

Port says she approached TradeMe and the seller to seek a resolution, without success. The vehicle was sold on behalf of the owner by a friend, because that person had been travelling around New Zealand and was due to leave the country permanently that week.

Port says she also sought legal advice, approached Community Law Marlborough, the District Court, police and Immigration New Zealand but was told nothing could be done before the seller left the country.

“I’m bloody angry, I’ve tried every avenue,” she says.

While the Consumer Guarantees Act and the Fair Trading Act do not apply to private car sales, a complaint could be lodged with the Disputes Tribunal under the Contractual Remedies Act.

The tribunal process takes six to eight weeks, which is time that Port says she doesn’t have.

The Marlborough Express says that according to the Ministry of Justice, once the seller has gone overseas the case is no longer in the jurisdiction of the disputes tribunal, it would then need to go through the civil district court, which was a long and costly process.

An estimate to repair the car came to $1000 which is money that Port says she also doesn’t have, and she is already paying off a loan to buy the vehicle. Kaikoura mechanic Ian Walker says it had a blown head gasket which caused it to overheat.

He says that any vehicle should be inspected and appraised by a qualified mechanic before purchase.

Port says she is angry that no action could be taken and wanted this to be a warning for others in the same situation.

“There should be something that can be done. They have ripped us off – how many people does this happen to?”

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