Reporter: Kevin Milne
A woman loses the car she paid cash for despite a guarantee from the car yard that there was no finance owing on it.
A Bay of Plenty woman, Sue Barr, buys a car from Elite Auctions in Rotorua for $9,000. She also pays an extra $250 for a buyers protection guarantee with which Elite Auctions guarantees that the car has clear title; in other words there's no money owing on the car.
But just a month after buying the car, it's repossessed by a finance company because Elite Auctions hasn't passed on the money Sue paid to the finance company that put it up for auction. And it turned out there was money owing on the car all the time.
When she went back to Elite Auctions with her guarantee, Elite Auctions had closed down and reopened under new ownership. So Sue lost her money even though she felt she'd done all she could to protect herself by paying extra for the guarantee.
Elite Auctions former owner, Lee Uerata, won't front up to fair go, but in a phone call admits that he should refund Sue for the car. But he says he can't because of the recession. He says he will when he sells up the family home.
Fair Go has had complaints from two other people who say they've been stung in the same way by the former Elite Auctions.
Turns out Elite Auctions was not a registered car yard. Had it been, Sue's car could not legally have been repossessed.
What you need to know:
- It's important to by cars from registered car yards. To find out if a car yard is registered, visit motortraders.med.govt.nz
- We also recommend you always check if there's money owing on a vehicle, even if the yard guarantees it has clear title. To do that, go to the government's personal property securities register on ppsr.govt.nz .
- You can pay for a much fuller AA lemon check vehicle history report. Go to the Automobile Association's website on aamotorcheck.co.nz
- And the motor trade association (MTA) also offers a mediation service if you've had a problem with one of its car dealer members.