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A long road to justice over $83,000 sportscar

Author
Open Justice,
Publish Date
Wed, 26 Jan 2022, 4:26pm
An $83,000 Aston Martin is subject of an ongoing legal stoush between two Auckland car dealers. Photo / NZME
An $83,000 Aston Martin is subject of an ongoing legal stoush between two Auckland car dealers. Photo / NZME

A long road to justice over $83,000 sportscar

Author
Open Justice,
Publish Date
Wed, 26 Jan 2022, 4:26pm

It's 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, with the case soon to head to appeal. 

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

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 get-go, Merchant, who is said to have bought the vehicle for personal use, 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 a month after purchasing it, but her application was declined. 

The Tribunal 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 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 Merchant $2672.80. 

But 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 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 Merchant and ordered ICOM Corporation to pay her $47,607.94, which included the cash deposit and the payments and fees made in respect to the loan. 

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

But ICOM Corporation have appealed that decision and on Wednesday Laing said a hearing had been set down for the District Court next month. 

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

"It will all depend on the appeal." 

Laing felt the Tribunal process had been unfair as he wanted to repair the vehicle properly but claimed to have not been given the opportunity. 

"There's a step-by-step process." 

He claimed Merchant failed to communicate with his company around the repairs. 

"They didn't give us the opportunity to fix it properly. We want to be able to repair it." 

If the appeal ruled in Merchant's favour, Laing expected the vehicle would be returned to him but said it would need to be in the same condition as it was when sold. 

But he believed it had since deteriorated. 

"I have seen it since and I can't believe the condition it is in." 

Merchant was contacted for comment. 

- by Tara Shaskey, Open Justice