Lux­ury car gives owner grief

Buyer left with an ex­pen­sive prob­lem af­ter en­gine fails

Sunday Tribune - - NEWS - MERVYN NAIDOO

ALLEN Naidoo is the owner of a lux­ury ve­hi­cle worth nearly R800 000, but has been un­able to drive for al­most 18 months.

The en­gine of Naidoo’s Mercedesbenz CLA 45 ceased to work in July 2017.

Since the car broke down, the Westville busi­ness­man, 68, has hon­oured his monthly car pay­ments and in­sur­ance pre­mi­ums of about R12 000.

How­ever, nei­ther his in­sur­ance com­pany (San­tam) nor NMI Umh­langa, the deal­er­ship that sold him the ve­hi­cle in 2015, was pre­pared to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for the dam­ages.

In­stead, NMI Umh­langa have in­di­cated they were pre­pared to fix the ve­hi­cle pro­vided he paid R627 433.30 for the re­quired re­pair work.

Naidoo said be­ing with­out his ve­hi­cle has caused him dis­tress and in­con­ve­nience.

In July 2016, his car was par­tially flooded while it was parked at the Pav­il­lion shop­ping mall dur­ing a heavy down­pour.

San­tam paid for the clean-up and other re­lated re­pair work.

He said the deal­er­ship had done a thor­ough check of the ve­hi­cle af­ter­wards and con­firmed the re­pairs were done sat­is­fac­to­rily. The ve­hi­cle worked well un­til smoke poured out of the car’s en­gine com­part­ment, in July 2017, while Naidoo drove it.

Af­ter check­ing the ve­hi­cle, NMI Umh­langa re­ported that a hole had formed in the car’s cylin­der block as a re­sult of wa­ter ingress.

NMI Umh­langa claimed it was due to the ve­hi­cle be­ing flooded pre­vi­ously. There­fore, the man­u­fac­turer’s (Mercedes-benz) war­ranty was not ap­pli­ca­ble.

The car came with a 100 000km war­ranty from Mercedes-benz and its odome­ter read­ing at the time of the break down was 28 000km.

The deal­er­ship have since es­ca­lated the mat­ter to Mercedes-benz SA.

Naidoo turned to San­tam for as­sis­tance. San­tam had the ve­hi­cle as­sessed by Me­chan­i­cal App­praisals CC. In their re­port, they con­cluded the only rea­son for en­gine fail­ure was a bro­ken con­nect­ing rod, and not as a re­sult of wa­ter ingress.

On the ba­sis of the re­port, “my in­sur­ance com­pany de­nied any li­a­bil­ity and main­tained that the en­gine fail­ure was due to me­chan­i­cal fail­ure”, said Naidoo.

“Both the in­sur­ance com­pany and Mercedes-benz have de­nied any li­a­bil­ity. This has had a huge im­pact on me per­son­ally and my busi­ness as I don’t have the funds to pur­chase a new ve­hi­cle.

“I have been forced to bor­row a ve­hi­cle to com­mute from home to my busi­ness in Malvern and for other per­sonal uses.

“Due to the stress, I was hos­pi­talised in May,” Naidoo said.

Robert Laub­scher of law firm Strauss Daly, the com­pany rep­re­sent­ing Mercedes-benz SA, said: “We can un­for­tu­nately not com­ment on the mat­ter due to the fact that le­gal pro­ceed­ings have been ini­ti­ated.”

The mat­ter has gone to ar­bi­tra­tion.

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