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Buyer right to question the value of muffler on swanky Japanese sportscar, tribunal says

Author
Open Justice,
Publish Date
Tue, 3 May 2022, 8:49pm
A car dealership misled buyers by claiming the muffler on a Nissan GT-R Black Edition car (similar to this) was an extra feature worth $15,000, the Vehicle Disputes Tribunal says. /Picture 123RF
A car dealership misled buyers by claiming the muffler on a Nissan GT-R Black Edition car (similar to this) was an extra feature worth $15,000, the Vehicle Disputes Tribunal says. /Picture 123RF

Buyer right to question the value of muffler on swanky Japanese sportscar, tribunal says

Author
Open Justice,
Publish Date
Tue, 3 May 2022, 8:49pm

A businessman's grievance over the value of his Japanese supercar's muffler is valid but does not qualify for any financial recompense, the Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal says. 

Mohamed Duwegoda Mudiyanselage, the director of an Auckland business S and A Trades and Services Limited, paid $200,000 for a 2021 "Black Edition" GTR R35 he bought from Azak Cars Limited, last November. 

Azak advertised the vehicle on Trade Me boasting it had the additional features of a Nismo Sports Resetting, Fujitsubo Titanium Muffler, valued at $15,000; a Bose sound system, and Recaro seats. 

But since buying the car, Mudiyanselage discovered the muffler was standard on the Black Edition vehicles. He told the Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal Azak's promotion of it as a feature was misleading and wanted to be recompensed $15,000. 

In a recently-released decision, tribunal adjudicator Brett Carter agreed Azak had engaged in misleading conduct in breach of the Fair Trading Act 1986, but not that Mudiyanselage had suffered any financial loss. 

Mudiyanselage's claim the "Black Edition" vehicles come factory fitted with the specified muffler was true but on another interpretation, Azak's representation of the muffler being an extra feature was also true, Carter said. 

Compared to the more basic, Nissan GT "pure" model, which did not have that particular muffler, its inclusion on the "Black Edition" could be seen as an "additional feature". 

But Azak's representation was misleading because a buyer could reasonably interpret the advertisement to mean the muffler was a valuable feature added to the vehicle after it was manufactured, which it was not, Carter said. 

It was also true Azak misrepresented the value of the muffler. 

Evidence produced by Azak showed it was actually worth $12,760 NZD. Azak wanted the cost of shipping and installing the muffler taken into account, but that was irrelevant given it was a factory feature, Carter said. 

Notwithstanding those findings, Carter said S and A did not suffer any financial loss in his purchase of the vehicle. It had the features specified and the company paid a reasonable market price for it. 

"I am satisfied this is a valuable vehicle and that value is continuing to appreciate," he said. 

Evidence submitted by S and A put the estimated value of it at between $160,000 and $188,000. 

Ozark referred the tribunal to a Trade Me listing of November, last year, where a Nissan GTR "Pure" (the model with lower specifications than the "Black Edition") was priced at $209,990. 

Ozark also produced evidence of the current cost of buying and importing a Nissan GTR from Japan – about $238,000. 

- by Sarah Curtis, Open Justice