I bought an ex-rental car and discovered that I have been lied to

Caliente

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2012
Messages
165
#1
Hi guys,

I'm in a slightly sticky situation and need your input.

I haven't sought legal advice on the matter and want to make sure that I'm reading the situation correctly before going that route.

This will be a long story. Please skip to the end for a TL;DR summary.

I bought an ex-rental car 2 months ago from a reputable dealership. The selling dealer had sourced the vehicle directly from one of the rental company’s sales branches. Both the dealer and car rental company are owned by the same group.

I am not mentioning the rental company's name(yet), but I will say that it is probably the largest car rental firm in SA.
A big part of me wants to name and shame them, but I'm playing nice until I know where I stand and what my legal rights are.

My car is a year old and had approximately 21k km on the odo at delivery. It was advertised and sold as having a full service history, balance of warranty and service plan, and accident-free. It was also Dekra roadworthied at some point prior to sale.

The selling dealer disclosed that the fuel pump had been replaced under warranty in the period it was on their sales floor.

It's in pretty good condition, and besides a few stone chips and what seems to be a spot repair on one side of the front bumper (evidenced by a very slight colour mismatch with the fender), I'd never guess that it had been driven by all and sundry in its past life as a rental car.


9 August:
A day after delivery, I noticed that the driver's seat belt buckle was reversed, i.e. when hanging it faced the b-pillar instead of inwards towards the seat. In effect this meant that the belt had to be twisted across my lap when buckled.

Not a huge deal, but I did wonder how this was not picked up at roadworthy.


10 August:
I visited the OEM dealer to make an appointment for the repair. The service adviser was unable to pick up a record on their system of the 1yr/15,000km service, although the service book had been stamped in January 2018 by the car rental company's sales branch.

I had a mini freak out and visited the selling dealer on the same day. They explained that while cars are in the rental fleet they are serviced and repaired by an in-house workshop. This is an agreement that all vehicle manufacturers have with this rental company.
An OEM dealer would therefore not have this history on their system.

After the seat belt discovery, I wanted to know what work had been completed on the vehicle that would have resulted in this anomaly.

I requested that the selling dealer get the service and accident history from the rental company. I explained that had the car been serviced by an OEM dealer, its history would be on record and available to me, and I expect the same from the rental company.

They said that this would not be a problem as they had sourced it before for other customers, and I could expect a screenshot of the itemised service record (an email from the rental company containing a screenshot of another vehicle's service record was shown to me as evidence).

The rental company also widely advertises that as a "benefit of buying" their cars, a full vehicle history is available on request.

And so it begins...


14 August:
I dropped by the selling dealer to collect the Natis document. The salesman said that he was struggling to find someone at the rental company who had access to the service records but would contact me as soon as he had something. Strange considering that this was a routine request for them.


29 August - 10 September:
At this point I didn't feel all that optimistic. I had not heard from the salesman, and all the worst-case scenarios started playing out in my head. Was there something they were hiding? Did the selling dealer uncover a previous accident that wasn't disclosed?

Fed up, I decided to contact the rental company myself. After many emails and another week, I was eventually passed on to the rental company's Trade Sales Branch Manager.
He said that he would investigate and get back to me. He also said that due to the POPI act he was not able to release the information to me as a "3rd party". He would need to send the information to the selling dealer as they were the customer. The selling dealer would then have to relay the info to me.


19 September:
After 20 emails between us, 12 more days, and lots of delay tactics, the rental company’s Trade Sales Branch Manager called me. He started telling me about the fuel pump that had been replaced while the car was at the selling dealer. As he was obfuscating the real issue, I politely cut him short. I went on to say that I was only interested in the car's history while in the rental fleet.

He then mentioned that in the pictures he has of the car when it was defleeted in May 2018, the service book had not been stamped. He said this not knowing that the book in my possession had a service stamp dated Jan 2018.
This means that the service book was stamped in the time between defleeting and the car's sale, and backdated to Jan 2018.

The should also have been stamped by the workshop and not the sales branch.

He also said they are unable to find any service history for the car on their system or at the workshop, implying that coupled with a dodgy service stamp, they can't prove that a 15,000km was carried out. He needed to investigate again.


3 October:
I got a call from the salesman at the selling dealer. He asked me to bring the car in so that they could return it to the rental company's workshop to carry out the lapsed 15,000km service. The car's mileage was now 23,000km.


4 October:
I dropped my car off at the selling dealer and was supplied with a courtesy car.


9 October:
I collected my car from the selling dealer. I was told that the service had already been completed on the 5th, but they delayed returning the car to me because they were waiting to receive a letter from the vehicle manufacturer that states that the service plan and warranty would not be affected by the late 15,000km service. This obviously did not happen.

I was promised that I would get the letter as soon as they had it.:sleep:

I saw that they had also replaced my service book with a new one (I fortunately have pics of the old one containing the rogue service stamp). The details of the “1st” service carried out at 23k km were filled in in the first service block, but the service was not stamped.

I emailed the rental company’s Trade Sales Branch Manager again, asking whether they had made an error or if this was done intentionally.

In his reply he repeated that they were waiting for a letter from the manufacturer, due to the late service.
I said that I understood that, but my actual question was why the book wasn’t stamped. Why fill in the date and mileage but not stamp it?:sneaky:

To date I have not had a response.

I have also not received the vehicle manufacturer’s letter. 7 days and counting:sleep:


TL;DR
  • Bought a year old ex-rental car with 21k km on the clock.
    Advertised as having a service history, no prior damage, balance of warranty and service plan.
  • 2 months after sale, it has come to light that the service book was stamped without the 1st service being carried out by the rental company’s workshop. They don’t have records to prove that a service was performed.
  • Because it must be assumed that the car was not serviced on time, the selling dealer and rental company requested that the car be returned to them to perform the 15k km service, with 23k km on the odometer.
  • A late service was performed. Service book replaced with a new one, service details completed but not stamped by workshop. I have asked for an explanation but have not been given one.
  • I was promised a letter from the vehicle manufacturer stating that the service plan and warranty would not be affected by the late service.
    I have not received this.


The way I see it, there are are two issues at hand:
  • The bottom line is that the was car advertised and sold as having a service history, but by all accounts, it was not serviced on time and has now had a late service, 8000km overdue. What recourse do I have? What are my rights in terms of the CPA?
  • The car seems to be in great condition superficially(as far as I can tell). Let’s say I choose to ignore the fact that I’ve been duped by being sold a car that was not as advertised, and I keep it.
    What is the likelihood that the engine has suffered premature wear due to the late oil change? Will I pay the price in years to come?
    I don’t want to overreact if the situation doesn’t call for it.

Questions should also be raised about the original service book that was stamped and backdated prior to sale without proof of a service being completed. I personally consider this to be fraudulent. The rental company sold the car when they could see that it had no service history on their system. I hope that they will handle this internally.

When viewing the car before sale I had no reason to suspect that anything was amiss. The car appeared perfect. Stamped service book, reputable rental company and selling dealer, Dekra roadworthy and a clean Autotrader car history check.

In a perfect world I wouldn't have to deal with any of this in the first place, but I am relieved that through persistence and some luck, the skulduggery was uncovered now instead of a year later at the next service - or perhaps never.


I apologise for this very long-winded account, but I felt it was necessary to paint an accurate picture. It is a serious issue and I am asking for advice.

Thanks in advance for your time. Please share your opinion. I would appreciate some guidance on what my next steps should be, from anyone with expertise or experience in this sort of scenario.
 

ArtyLoop

Executive Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2017
Messages
6,120
#2
Rule #1... don't buy a rental car.
And based on your description it is quite obvious which company this was. I also say avoid them like the plague.
 

xrapidx

Honorary Master
Joined
Feb 16, 2007
Messages
36,364
#4
My big concern would be the warranty, and how its been affected.

I recently bought a vehicle as advertised with FSH - but - after paying, etc - the service book never materialized, fortunately, I could check it with Toyota. (before hand)

What I did do, was buy another service book - when I took it for its first service under my ownership - Toyota completed all the missing services (3) - and stamped the book.


Your Rule #1 is not actually true..

Normally they are better maintained than privately owned vehicles...
Exactly
 

Lupus

Honorary Master
Joined
Apr 25, 2006
Messages
14,449
#5
I bought one of the vehicles the dealer used to use as their car, the one they dropped customers off and so on, after they received it from a rental place, they too told me it was full service history, upon getting it I noticed that the 75k service wasn't done but the car was on 77k, so I insisted they do it, they wanted to charge me for it, I told them firstly it's still under a service plan according to your own ad, secondly it hit that mileage under their care, they must sort it out.
The moral of the story, you should've raised that with them before buying.
 

Caliente

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2012
Messages
165
#7
I bought one of the vehicles the dealer used to use as their car, the one they dropped customers off and so on, after they received it from a rental place, they too told me it was full service history, upon getting it I noticed that the 75k service wasn't done but the car was on 77k, so I insisted they do it, they wanted to charge me for it, I told them firstly it's still under a service plan according to your own ad, secondly it hit that mileage under their care, they must sort it out.
The moral of the story, you should've raised that with them before buying.
Hi Lupus.

There was nothing to raise before buying.
The book was stamped.
I had no way of knowing that the service had not been done.
 

SauRoNZA

Honorary Master
Joined
Jul 6, 2010
Messages
32,492
#11
Rental cars make more power, because they were run in hard.

Anecdotal sure but every rental car that I've owned or know other people owning had less issues.

@OP nobody is going to check that **** at roadworthy because nobody is going to care.

As long as your book is stamped and the manufacturer confirms your warranty/service plan there is no further drama really required. The car won't explode for having missed that first service by a few thousand km.
 

Caliente

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2012
Messages
165
#14
Rental cars make more power, because they were run in hard.

Anecdotal sure but every rental car that I've owned or know other people owning had less issues.

@OP nobody is going to check that **** at roadworthy because nobody is going to care.

As long as your book is stamped and the manufacturer confirms your warranty/service plan there is no further drama really required. The car won't explode for having missed that first service by a few thousand km.
Hey.
Thanks for the reply. I tend to agree with everything you've said, and have heard the same anecdote.
My car seems more powerful than the units I test drove at the dealer. Could be my imagination though :D

I hope you're right about the service bit. It certainly drives well enough at the moment.
2 months in I'm just tired of chasing people for simple s*&t. You'd think they'd be more eager to give me what's due and get me off their backs.
 

dunkyd

Expert Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2009
Messages
4,256
#15
I have bought 3 cars from Avis. Top condition, all records and all have not given me one moments trouble.
Sounds like a salesman scam. They are selling a friends car that has been in an accident.
Just give it back for a full refund. STOP WASTING TIME POSTING ON A FORUM.
 

Neuk_

Expert Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2018
Messages
1,065
#19
So what if it was badly driven? It was maintained.... Things that are broken are fixed....
Things that are obviously broken or affecting the car being rented out are fixed but I don't believe for a second that everything that needs attention gets it.
 
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