Aston Martin scrap heads to appeal

It is a long road to justice for two Auckland car dealers who are at legal loggerheads over an $83,000 luxury sportscar found to have defects, in a case soon to head to appeal.

In March last year, Rozina Merchant bought a champagne-coloured 2010 Aston Martin Rapide from Icom Corporation Ltd, which trades as Titan Motors in New Lynn.

Ms Merchant, who owns a car yard herself, bought the sportscar for personal use.

She paid Titan Motors, owned by Zijian Liang and Xiqi Yang, a $42,500 cash deposit for the vehicle and took out a loan with Oxford Finance Ltd to cover the remainder.

But from the start, Ms Merchant was unhappy with it, claiming there were a number of defects, a Motor Vehicles Disputes Tribunal of New Zealand decision detailed.

She had applied to the tribunal to reject the vehicle (which would have allowed her to return the Aston Martin and get a refund or replacement car) a month after buying it, but her application was declined.

The tribunal instead found the vehicle had defects that meant it was not of acceptable quality for the purposes of the Consumer Guarantees Act and ordered Icom Corporation to fix the undiagnosed faults causing warning lights to illuminate, and the faulty driver’s door handle.

The car dealership was also ordered to replace both front inner wheel arch liners, provide an emergency key, and pay Ms Merchant $2672.80.

But Ms Merchant then claimed the dealership failed to fix the defects, despite having reasonable opportunity to do so, and made a second application to the tribunal to reject the vehicle, which was upheld.

In the recent decision, Icom Corporation argued Ms Merchant’s application should again be declined as the emergency key had been provided and the wheel arch liners did not need replacing and had instead been adequately secured.

The dealership agreed the warning light issues had not been rectified but it wanted further opportunity to address the problem.

The tribunal sided with Ms Merchant and ordered Icom Corporation to pay her $47,607.94, which included the cash deposit and the payments and fees made in respect of the loan.

Ms Merchant’s rights and obligations under the collateral credit agreement with Oxford Finance Ltd were also assigned to Icom Corporation.

But Icom Corporation has appealed that decision and yesterday Mr Liang said a hearing had been set down for the District Court next month.

The vehicle remained with Ms Merchant and his company was yet to pay her any money, he said.

The decision said Mr Liang failed to fix the defects within a reasonable time but he felt the time he had been given was not enough.

"They didn’t give us the opportunity to fix it properly. We want to be able to repair it," he said.

He claimed Ms Merchant failed to communicate with him about the repairs.

But Ms Merchant said Mr Liang had ample time to make the repairs and claimed it was, in fact, him who was difficult to communicate with.

"We didn’t rush him at all," she said yesterday.

Ms Merchant, who said she asked for a refund three hours after buying the car, was surprised Mr Liang had appealed the decision and was hopeful the court would rule in her favour.

"This is taking us a lot of time, money and energy."

 - Tara Shaskey

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