R699 car victims must wait to hear if they can sue

2014-07-23 00:00

PORT ELIZABETH — Car owners left in the lurch by the R699 car financing scheme will hear on August 7 if they may bring a class action suit.

Port Elizabeth attorney Duncan Heuer and advocate David Smith were told yesterday their application has been postponed until that date, to allow the respondents time to get their court filings in order.

Heuer said the respondents are banks Absa, Standard Bank and Nedbank and the loan company Satinsky.

He confirmed Wesbank is listed as a respondent, but as it refused in 2011 to be part of the scheme, it would be called as a witness.

Johan Bartosch, a contract worker at a car company in Uitenhage, is the first claimant on Heuer’s books.

He bought a Tata Indica LE in November 2013 with a loan from Absa without paying a deposit, just as the adverts plastered on cars across South Africa promised.

He signed a debit order for R2 448 a month for the next six years.

His deal with Satinsky meant he would only spend R699 a month if he displayed the adverts on his car and drove at least 2 000 km a month.

“It was easy, since I drive 70 km to work and back each day. I faithfully recorded my kilometres, as agreed with Satinsky,” he said.

But his monthly payments from Satinsky were only R1 400, meaning he still owed the bank R1 100 — R400 more than the scheme advertised.

“And then suddenly the payments of R1 100 for a month or two fell to just R500. After I complained about the car, which was constantly breaking down, and the sudden drop in payments, from last month I got nothing,” said Bar­tosch.

Chatsworth resident Brian Pillay claims he now has to do extra work to make up for his increased repayment.

“I have started a lift club in an effort to try and make up for the money I have lost,” he said.

Pam Pelser (61) from Margate says she could “quite possibly kill someone out of frustration”.

Pelser went from paying R600 to R2 000 a month for her car.

“I am lucky that I have a great daughter who will help me financially, but so many people don’t know what they are going to do,” she said.

Pelser is also part of the court action.

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