[LISTEN] Who is responsible if your car is stolen from a dealership?

Cheryl Modise bought her dream car - a new Range Rover Evoque to the value of more than R800,000 - from the Jaguar Land Rover dealership in Menlyn in June when it began to give her problems after a few days.

It refused to start only a month after its purchase.

On the 9th of August, when the car was at the dealership to sort out another mechanical issue, Cheryl got a call from the police saying the car had been recovered in Soweto.

She joined Azania Mosaka and consumer journalist Wendy Knowler in studio to share her story.

I was away on holiday when I received a phone call from the police. They said to me that they are phoning regarding a vehicle they recovered in Soweto....I said to them I think you have got the wrong person, my car is at the dealership, it is in for repairs.

Cheryl Modise

My phone rings again... they confirmed all the details. This is when I started to panic and wonder what was happening.

Cheryl Modise

Modise managed to get hold of the car salesperson when she was told her husband made arrangements to collect the car.

She says although it was confirmed that the vehicle was given to the so-called husband on the grounds that he seemed to have enough details about the car, the dealership did not show any sign of concern nor that they were willing to take responsibility for having given her car to a stranger without her consent.

I asked: 'How come was I not contacted when any of this happened?' Some excuse was given to say that this person had all the details so they were really sure that this person was my husband.

Cheryl Modise

The dealership allegedly went on to make a claim on Modise's behalf without her knowing. The vehicle had suffered extensive damage worth R112,000.

The "claim" had been rejected based on the investigation that was conducted. Based on their findings the incident occurred as a result of theft under false pretences (negligence) which is not covered under the policy.

Modise went on to lodge a complaint with the Motor Industry Ombudsman. The dealership was instructed to refund the deposit on the car and settle the amount with the bank.

She says she has yet to receive her money.

I believe this could have been handled better.

Cheryl Modise

Knowler explains the responsibility of a car dealership when you have taken your vehicle in for repairs.

Essentially, it is a reasonable expectation that the keys should be locked away in a safe place with a responsible person and that the perimeters of the premises of a car dealership should be secured to control access and minimise theft.

Wendy Knowler, Consumer journalist

I have covered three of these cases since 2017 and in all cases there was negligence.

Wendy Knowler, Consumer journalist

They are responsible for putting you back in a position that you were - getting you a similar car, paying you out, whatever it is.

Wendy Knowler, Consumer journalist

Click on the link below to hear Knowler's full response....


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