NSW Used car dealer refusing refund, using bully tactics

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18 June 2020
I bought a used car from a large inter-state auto group in Feb. Exactly one week after collection I found water staining on the ceiling, I assumed it had something to do with the sunroof. Agreed I neglected my due diligence pre-purchase but this was a licensed dealer, I trusted them not to sell me a lemon. Stupid mistake.

I continued to find water damage, pooling, stains and water marks. More rust inside the car than out. I notified the dealer immediately, they remained adamant they would never sell a storm damaged car and that somehow it all happened the minute I drove the car off the lot.

Now they are claiming all sorts of ludicrous things like I drove it with the sunroof open while it was pouring down with rain, neglected to check the sunroof drains before OR after I purchased, neglected to maintain it (for 7 days), etc. etc.

There are old water stains everywhere. I am claiming a major defect as I would have never bought the car had I known it was storm damaged. I have since found out it has had panel repairs contributing to the leaks, another misrepresentation on the form 5. This and the determination that the damage occurred prior to my possession is evidenced in a mechanical report ordered by my insurer’s assessor and their declining of an insurance claim (should the dealer have actually been right). There’s no question when it happened, but the dealer has refused to refund, not cooperated with NSW Fair Trading (unenforceable) and now I’m taking them to NCAT have their lawyers beating their chests with demands, stat decs, affidavits, legal fees and the frequent use of “further,”, “as such,” and “your negligence”. Followed by a pathetic offer to cover half the cost of repairs but by no means is that admission (them having to explicitly state non-admission seems a contradiction). All stat decs from people in their auto group, hardly impartial.

Do all dealers behave like this? Do they get a kick out of ripping their customers off and intimidating them? I thought dodgy dealers only existed in Roald Dahl’s imagination...

My hearing is in a month and I’m considering legal representation, it may be my only chance since these lovely people have turned it into a [use your imagination] contest. At a time we need avoidable crap like this the least.

I’m also considering a few things that might help my case, keen to get some input:
* character reference
* expert witness
* evidence in social media of the auto group’s previous questionable and generally unacceptable behaviour
* some kind of claim that their strong-arming is unethical/nasty/bullying?

Any advice greatly appreciated.



Well-Known Member
2 February 2019
Can you look into the history of the car? Previous owner, how long it was at the dealership for? Did it rain in the week you had the car? Deep rust wouldn't appear in 1 week. It sounds like the car was a repairable write off bought from an auction, given a once over and then sold.


18 June 2020
What car, year, value?
2012 Lexus, $17k. It had been transferred from another dealer in the same auto group and under this group's possession for at least 8 months before we bought it - we found this in an archived ad from the other dealer. It rained heavily the week before we picked the car up, very heavily in the dealer's area according to BOM. It also rained the day we took it home, a small amount the next and nothing else until we noticed what was wrong.

I thought repairable write-offs must be declared so, the dealer has said "no" on the form 5 (same for water damage and repair). I have a report from the insurance company's assessors that some water came in through unfinished repairs and that they cannot approve the claim because it has been assessed to have happened before I took out the policy (which started the day I drove it off the yard).

They (the dealer's lawyers) say I did it all through "negligence" and "incorrect operation" of the sunroof, neither of which were determined in the report. They also assure me they will win this case and I'll be paying their fees.

It's sad one has to go through this to be treated fair.