Rough ride for first-time car owner

Social work student Nicole April was very unhappy with the Renault Kwid she bought from Auto Pedigree in Bellville.

Her new car, well it wasn’t exactly new, was a demo model with 7 000 kilometres on the clock, kept breaking down at the most inopportune times.

“Two weeks after I bought the Dynamique 1 litre, the engine light started flashing and the car came to a stop on the N2 which is extremely dangerous. I managed to get it going again and took it to the Renault Centre, Tyger Valley Multi-Franchise, where they told me the ‘screws had to be tightened’ as this was the first time the car had been driven. They skimmed the brakes to get rid of the noise but it didn’t last long. I then had to take the car for another roadworthy before it could be registered in my name. My car failed the roadworthy but after the brakes were tightened it passed. There was also an issue with the warranty and though I bought the car in July 2018, the warranty had already started in December 2017 and, according to the service plan, I would have to bear the costs. In reality I should have been covered from July, but no one explained this to me,” the Mitchell’s Plain resident said.

In January this year the Kwid started making funny noises and the gears did not want to engage.

It switched off while Ms April was driving and the dashboard lights started flashing. She was near a petrol station and pulled in to see if the car was overheating.

Ms April got it started and reached home safely, driving slowly. “The car would lag then suddenly accelerate. Renault fixed the issues but they could not service it as the bank had apparently registered the car in my name in May but I only bought it in July. I had numerous other issues with the Kwid (too many to enumerate here), but they did replace the petrol pump and updated the software. I complained to Renault’s customer care line and Mike Dovey said he will escalate my complaint to Auto Pedigree. By now I had lost confidence in the car and no longer wanted it,” Ms April said.

“The Kwid is faulty and the service is substandard. I can no longer go through the trauma of risking my safety and that of my sons,” the Unisa student said.

Previously, Andries Oelofse, service manager of the Tyger Valley Multifranchise, told Ms April they could “not assist with the refund/return of your vehicle but we will assist with a courtesy car while we get your car back to diagnose why this vehicle is cutting out”.

“Fanie Kleynhans, managing director, said that one of his regional managers, Vinay Singh, would contact me: he did and offered to give me another Kwid but I didn’t want another one because as a first-time car owner, it was a very bad experience,” Ms April said.

When I asked Mr Kleynhans for an explanation, he said he was not allowed to comment to the media and referred me to Motus under which Auto Pedigree falls.

However, Ms April said that Mr Kleynhans, who had been in New Zealand, set the ball rolling and she soon received a settlement of R155 231.38.

Renault SA said they had no record of the complaint and were not aware of the client’s dealings with Auto Pedigree, Bellville.

“However, Brett Pyle, our senior customer care consultant, has emailed Ms April twice requesting contact details but has not yet had a response,” said spokesperson Vivienne Ward.

Nicole Varty, legal counsel for Motus, said the Kwid Auto Pedigree sold to Ms April was a used, low mileage 2018 vehicle which was still covered by its original manufacturer’s warranty.

“When Auto Pedigree delivered it to Ms April in August 2018, it was cosmetically in order, mechanically sound and in good working order. Auto Pedigree assisted her with all the complaints raised in her email (February 26 2019). Unfortunately, as the original manufacturer’s warranty was still in place, Auto Pedigree was legally not entitled to attend to any repair work on the Kwid, as the manufacturer’s warranty would have been nullified.

“Ms April’s complaints were addressed by Renault and according to their report (Tyger Valley Multifranchise, February 25 2019), no faults could be detected after all the warranty repairs were done, so the vehicle is mechanically sound and in good working order.

“It is evident that Ms April has lost all her trust and confidence in the vehicle and as a show of good faith Auto Pedigree is willing to assist Ms April and they agreed to cancel the sale and settle her finance bill with the bank. She will also not have to pay Auto Pedigree any compensation for the kilometres used (more than 10 000km) since taking delivery of the Kwid and Auto Pedigree will not be liable to repay any instalments paid by Ms April. The matter has been resolved to Ms April’s satisfaction,” Ms Varty said.