An Auckland car-buyer was allegedly swindled out of almost $20,000 by a salesman working at Nova Motors Penrose.
Richard Leahy took Nova Motors to the motor vehicle disputes tribunal after agreeing to buy a 2011 Audi from the company which he said he never received despite paying.
The salesman, referred to as “Mr A” in the tribunal’s decision, resigned from his job in February after complaints that he was diverting customers’ money into his own personal account.
Leahy, who was one of about 10 customers who had been deceived, had agreed to buy the car for $19,700. He said Mr A told him to pay the money into a specified bank account.
After paying, Leahy said he never received the car, and Nova Motors said it hadn’t received the money either. Leahy laid a police complaint.
He also alleged that Nova Motors had engaged in “misleading” and “deceptive conduct” through the salesman and wanted ownership of the car to be transferred through to him and to be supplied with a three-year mechanical breakdown insurance policy.
Nova Motors said while the salesman was one of their employees they didn’t have any obligation to remedy the situation as Leahy had “acted carelessly” by not confirming the account belonged to Nova Motors.
Motor vehicle disputes tribunal adjudicator Brett Carter agreed that Nova Motors had liability for the salesman’s conduct as he was an employee at that time.
“I find that Mr Leahy was indeed misled,” Carter said, “he has also suffered loss. He has neither the $19,700 or the vehicle.
”I am satisfied that he would have paid the money into a legitimate account if he had not been misled, and in doing so would not have suffered loss, because the vehicle would then have been supplied to him.”
Nova motors were given 10 days to transfer ownership of the Audi to Leahy and were also ordered to pay him $1700.
A police spokesman said a police investigation was ongoing into the matter.