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Durban - Desperate to retrieve a courtesy car from a customer, BMW Auto uMhlanga sent an armed car tracker team with helicopter back-up to recover it. But days later they were forced to give the car back in terms of a high court order.
Chatsworth administrative clerk Ravindra Jainarain is locked in a legal spat with the dealership, saying they sold him a “defective” new car and then demanded he return the car they lent him.
Jainarain secured a high court order to have the loan car returned to him, but days later the dealership dashed to court to get the car back.
On Wednesday, Durban High Court Judge Gregory Kruger confirmed a consent order that both applications would be argued next month and Jainarain would keep the car in the meanwhile.
In papers, Jainarain said he had bought a new BMW 320d from the dealer in November.
“I noted certain defects, including that the doors were not aligned properly and that the air conditioner was not working. I returned the vehicle to the dealership.
“However, the vehicle was not fixed to my satisfaction and (BMW) did not give me any explanation as to how such defects could be present (in) a new car. I requested that they take the vehicle back and give me another new vehicle.”
Jainarain said the dealership lent him a BMW 325 to use in March while the dispute was being resolved.
But two weeks ago, BMW sent a Netstar recovery team to Jainarain’s workplace in central Durban to recover the car.
Jainarain said “aggressive and arrogant” Netstar personnel, with a helicopter hovering above, barged on to the premises with guns and demanded the vehicle.
He had been forced to hand over the car and had been left without transport.
“I am paying monthly instalments for a car I am no longer in possession of or am using. If the loan car is given back to the dealership I will be forced to hire a vehicle at my own cost.”
In an affidavit, the dealership’s principal, Brenton Cole, denied that Jainarain was unlawfully dispossessed of the BMW 325.
Cole also denied that Jainarain had been given a loan vehicle to use while his dispute was resolved.
“The applicant (Jainarain) requested the new BMW to be replaced because of the repair work to the air conditioner. I explained to him that BMW South Africa would have to make the decision on whether to replace the vehicle and it would have to be inspected.
“He left the vehicle at the dealership and I provided a loan vehicle to use while we waited for BMW South Africa’s decision.”
Cole said when BMW SA decided not to replace Jainarain’s vehicle, he had asked for the loan vehicle to be returned.
“The matter was concluded and Jainarain was no longer entitled to keep the loaned vehicle.
“The applicant has three years to institute action. It may take years to be resolved, therefore it is absurd that we would give him a loan vehicle for so long.
“The vehicle is depreciating from daily use and there is prejudice to the dealership as we cannot sell the loan vehicle to potential buyers. The applicant is also at liberty to collect his vehicle.”
Netstar employee Farhad Bux said in an affidavit that his team had not been aggressive towards Jainarain.
He said he had told the parking security staff at Jainarain’s workplace to allow them on to the property or they would call the police. - The Mercury