Motor ombudsman clamps down on second-hand car dealerships

The Consumer Affairs and the Motor Industry Ombudsman of South Africa (Miosa) have embarked on a nationwide operation to clamp down on second-hand car dealerships flouting the law.

Ibrahim Adat of Miosa, which is endorsed by the Department of Trade and Industry, warned dealerships of legal action for not complying with laws, even if they say they are not aware of them.

“Many companies basically give us the normal excuse that we have not been aware of it or it’s unheard of. Yet, the law has been out since 2015. It has been highlighted basically on TV, newspapers and it was the only law in the country of South Africa that was gazetted three times over. If there were part of the group or the RMI, there were also advising newsletters that it is a legal requirement to be compliant with also,” he said.

“Virtually, what we do is we give them all the information that’s required to comply. We then do a second visit to ensure if they have questions they might want to know. Then the Head Office will send them a direct invoice bill. Should they fail to comply from that they will be contravening the Act and hence will appear in court,” Adat explained.

Miosa found on a visit to dealerships in Newcastle, Ladysmith and Durban, that a large portion of dealerships did not comply with the law.

Additionally, the National Consumer Commission reminded consumers that they were there for their protection, after receiving a number of complaints relating to unscrupulous dealerships.

“We are mainly looking at protecting consumers against scrupulous dealers or suppliers. This operation mainly focuses on the second-hand motor dealers, which has been problematic since the inception of the commission. Most of the dealers are still using the old legislation,” the Commission’s Velaphi Mabuza said.