Nelson teacher Kelvin Woodley has got $2500 back from an online dealer who promised to import a car but never delivered it. Photo / Supplied (NZ Herald)

Car scam: Cash for some but still no cars

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An online car dealer who took deposits but failed to supply cars to at least 16 people has now paid refunds to at least three complainants.

Police are still investigating complaints from more than 16 people who paid deposits, usually of half the price of a car, to a man who advertised on Trade Me. None had received the cars at the time they complained.

Trade Me trust and safety manager Jon Duffy said several had now got part or all of their money back.

“A number have received refunds or vehicles delivered, predominantly refunds,” he said.

But he said the company received “a handful” of further complaints after the Herald reported about the first 16, and there were still 16 customers who had not received vehicles or refunds.

“The police are actively investigating,” he said.

Nelson teacher Kelvin Woodley, who paid a $2500 deposit last October for a 2006 Suzuki Swift priced at $4999, said he received a full $2500 refund from the dealer in two payments, one of $1000 and later the remaining $1500.

“We believe that the newspaper article was what made the difference,” he said. “We believe he could see that we were not going to just take it lying down.”

But an Auckland couple who paid the dealer a $2800 deposit last March for a 2007 Nissan Tiida priced at $5603 have only received $500 back so far.

The dealer texted the wife on Sunday promising to refund the rest of the money “as soon as more funds come into the company”.

“He said, ‘If my company goes into receivership you won’t get a dollar back,'” she said.

“This guy, according to the police, is still operating. So he is actually scamming more people so he can repay us.”

The man uses numerous personal and company names but in all cases known to the Herald he asked customers to pay deposits into an ANZ Bank account named “Kar Guru New Zealand”. He asked for 50 per cent deposits to cover the costs of importing the vehicles.

Duffy said last month that anyone selling a car on Trade Me should have the car in New Zealand.

“If the deal seems too good to be true then it probably is,” he said. “Legitimate vehicle traders don’t typically ask for a 50 per cent deposit to help import the vehicle.”

Trade Me announced last week that it would refund people who paid for items that did not turn up under certain conditions, with maximum refunds of $2500, from February 21.

– Story by Simon Collins/NZ Herald