Wrong car for top cop

2015-06-04 10:04

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Pietermaritzburg - Top Pietermaritzburg cop Brigadier Francis Bantham has allegedly been defrauded by an exclusive Johannesburg-based car dealership after she purchased a vehicle from them.

Criminal charges of fraud and ­misrepresentation were opened by Bantham last month after she found that her Range Rover Evoque, which she purchased from Fouche Motors in Vanderbijlpark, Johannesburg, was allegedly sold to her under false pretences.

Bantham said she purchased a Range Rover Evoque Dynamic, a top-of-the-range vehicle, from Fouche Motors in 2013, but they instead delivered a look-alike Prestige, an entry-level version, to her offices at the Mountain Rise Police Station.

Not knowing the subtle differences between the two models, for two years Bantham was under the impression that she had been driving a Dynamic — a mistake she warns others not to make.

Last month, after paying more than R200 000 towards her R721 000 Range Rover, which was financed by Wesbank, Bantham said when she tried to trade the vehicle in, a local dealership alerted her that her car was not what it appeared to be.

“I’m devastated. I had a rude awakening and I am happy that this was picked up as it would have been more painful if it was only realised five years down the line,” Bantham said on Wednesday.

The vehicle has since been impounded as it is evidence in a criminal case.

“Having to watch my own members take my car away was horrific. It has been a learning experience for me and if this could happen to a brigadier, it could happen to any member of the public so I urge all potential car buyers to be aware of such crimes,” Bantham said.

Fouche Motors is a high-end car dealership specialising in exotics like Lamborghini, Ferrari and Maserati.

Owner Mohammed Datoo said the erroneous transaction was an error on their part.

Datoo said the mistake was made because the Prestige model sold to Bantham had the 20-inch wheels that come with the Dynamic. Therefore it was a case of mistaken identification rather than fraud.

“The vehicle she bought had all the extras of the Dynamic. When the salesman … invoiced the car, by mistake, he put Dynamic instead of Prestige,” Datoo said.

Beside the 20-inch alloy wheels, differences between the two models include an array of interior trimmings and a Dynamic body kit distinguishable from the Prestige model.

Datoo promised further comment, which was not forthcoming by the time of publication.

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