21 September, 2006

Caveat Emptor : Buyer Beware

Friends, read this post carefully if you are planning to buy a car in the near future.

Our story started last year. The sole agent of one of the leading European car brand imported a shipment of new cars. During the off loading process, one of the cars fell down due to the carelessness of the off loading staff at the sea port. The car suffered serious damage especially in the chasis. The sole agent filed an insurance claim. The sole agent also removed the car from the system of the manufacturer since it was considered as salvage, or "scrap" as we call here in the UAE.

The insurance company paid the sole agent the money & took the possession of the car. They then sold this car to one of the garages in a neighboring emirate. The garage owner repaired the car & then sold it presumably as an "unwanted gift" & at a much lower price, to a buyer from a neighboring Gulf country. The new buyer cleared all the paper work with the concerned traffic department, got an export number & took the car to his home country.

When this buyer bought this car, he was told that the car was under the warranty from the manufacturer & therefore he should face no problems in his country as this was an international warranty. The first few months were okay. But then everything changed one fine day when the air bag activated itself during a normal driving trip, which is something unusual. Our friend took the car to the dealership in his country for repair, since his car was still supposed to be under the warranty.

Now here this gentleman got the shock of his life. He was told that his car had already been declared a salvage & therefore has been removed from the system of the manufacturer. This meant he has to pay for the repair.

This is a real story. The car was a BMW. The sole agent is based in Abu Dhabi. The final buyer was from Saudi Arabia, he bought this car from Sharjah. I heard this story on Emarat FM 97.1 live call in program. The story has been verified after the program presenters contacted live on air the representative of the sole agent in Abu Dhabi.

The moral of the story is that please do not buy any "unwanted gift" car. But if you think you cannot live without it, please verify the details with the local agent of that brand. I would even suggest that if possible, you should directly contact the manufacturer. Don't just depend on the clearance certificate issued by the police department.

Another insider information. Don't buy imported American Specification used cars unless you personally know the Car delaer & are 200% sure that he will not cheat you. Most of the new stock available these days is the result of last year's Hurricane Katrina. The cars were imported into UAE as scrap, then repaired here before being sold in the market as "Immaculate Condition Imported Car."

God save us from greedy & unethical businessmen.

6 comments:

Dani said...

Ohh..car business - gotta be one of the hottest rackets in the UAE.

The moral of the story is that please do not buy any "unwanted gift" car.

this 'unwanted gift' is just some sort of funky advertisement. i'm delighted you didn't miss "immaculate condition..." - that's really funny considering it's one of the famous tags when selling a used car. :D

very interesting story DG, but luckily the guy didn't take an autoloan, things could've been worse!

God save us from greedy & unethical businessmen.

Amen.

marwan said...

I hate all UAE dealers with a fiery passion, but buy new from them. No deals to be found in the secondhand racket.

DG said...

Dani, thanks for sharing your opinion :-)

Marwan, you are right. Car dealers in the UAE have higher profit margin than for example Oman. I think this sole agency law for everything should be abolished. The government has supported them enough to stand on their feet, and what have these guys given back to the country?

How many of these multi millionaires support charity or social services in the UAE? Many of them don't even pay their Zakat, which is only 2.5%. Their bank balances are becoming fatter with each passing day while the purchasing power of the consumer is diminishing. These same people control the property market & are responsible for this escalation in rents & inflation. Enough is enough. Government should either force them to spend on welfare projects in the country or clip their wings.

If I am not wrong, there are 59,000 millionaires in the country. They don't pay any income tax, they should show care & support for the less fortunate people living inside the country. By less fortunate people I don't mean just locals or muslims only, I mean all people irrespective of their race or religion.

But this does not mean all of them only care for their profit margins. There are some good businessmen too, inshallah someday I will write a post about them, highlighting their contributions to the UAE society. God bless them.

BD said...

I've had good experiences with Swaidan Peugeot dealer in Dubai. As a matter of policy they don't negotiate on price--everyone gets the same deal. One could say that's monopolistic--they're the sole agent--but everything is guaranteed by the manufacturer in France.

Anecdotally, I once settled on a car and signed all the documents. Just prior to handover the agent noticed some fluid under the car in the showroom. Instead of letting me drive off with the possibly defective product he informed me right away and gave me the option to take something else or at least wait until the vehicle was checked out. He even gave me a nice convertible model to use until my new car choice was ready.

That's good, honest, above-board salesmanship.

DG said...

BD, since how long you have been driving a Peugeot? Is the car reliable, especially during the summer months? My experience with American & European cars has been very bad & I promised myself to buy ONLY Japanese cars. At least Japanese cars don't make you look like a fool on a hot summer day in the middle of no where. I am happy with my manual car, without the high tech gadgets. Sorry if anyone felt offended :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi BMW Owner in Abu Dhbai,

Be aware not to repair your car at a shop Called Emirate Eyes or Ayoun Al Emarat, they are just punch of theve will rup you off under the name of Professionalism.... don't fail in the trap. get your spare part from the model at the frist entrance of Musafah.

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