Q: Would you recommend buying from Dandenong's Cheapest Cars?
A: No, I'd rather go to the dentist - it's less painful.
In October 2016 I visited DandenongsCheapestCars in Plunkett Road VIC 3175 as they had a Chrysler PT Cruiser that I was interested in taking for a test drive. I intended to then visit a caryard in Tullamarine for the same reason, and was hoping to buy one or the other that day.
Upon arrival I was greeted by a friendly salesman, Matt, who showed me the car, and openly admitting there were a few minor issues, but that they would be fixed to ensure the car would pass its roadworthy inspection. During my test drive, I noted:
Strong cigarette smell
Vibration in car/wheels over 60kph
Cracked tail light
Missing license plate light lenses
Otherwise, for an 11 year old car, it was in fairly reasonable condition best I could tell, and Matt advised we could have all those things fixed for the stated price, including an interior detailing to reduce/remove the cigarette smell. (I called 2 random car detailers, both said a wet vac of fabrics, thorough wipe down of hard surfaces, and air-cleaner through the A/C would massively improve the smell.)
Upon returning to the car yard, Matt was off-site, so I dealt with the owner, George. When I mentioned the fact I was intending to visit another car yard that had a PT Cruiser, he not only dismissed the idea of traveling "all over Melbourne" just to save a couple of dollars, he went as far as to insult the other seller's nationality. I should have walked then... but I really liked the car, and Matt had assured me the issues would be fixed, so I proceeded with the sale.
Whilst filling in the paperwork, George attempted to express how little profit he makes on each sale after paying all his expenses. Indeed, when I picked the car up, I wasn't allowed to put the sale through on "credit" due to c/card fees (and couldn't use "savings" as it was over my limit) - I was told to do a direct transfer instead. Again, I should have walked - that felt SO dodgy... (and voided any safety-net my c/card may have offered.) But, I really liked the car...
They had 2 weeks to fix the above issues before I came back to pick the vehicle up... and as best I can tell, all that happened was a wheel alignment that only partially fixed the vibration, possibly 1-2 new tyres (they said so, but I couldn't verify), and "something" to reduce the cigarette smell long enough to get me out of the car yard.
Stupidly, I did not properly check the car before taking it home, because of a) pouring rain at pick-up and b) lack of sleep from 2 sick kids.
Upon arriving home however, I discovered water in the cracked tail light (confirming it is not roadworthy), and I smelled like a nightclub. There was also still an occasional vibration/thunk when traveling at speed. When I wiped the car's dash with a wet cloth, it was filthy - clearly the car hadn't been properly detailed. There was also a few minor stains on the seats that a wetvac would likely have removed if it had actually been done. Finally, feeling above the license plate, I noted that there was still no covers over the globes. Lastly, the car's remote locking fob was missing!
As such I attempted to report this information to George, however when I rang he had a customer so couldn't talk to me... and when I called back as requested, my calls went straight to messagebank... So instead I ended up dealing with Matt, trying to work through the various problems... week in, week out... with the only outcome being the arrival of the missing remote fob. Otherwise - no replacement lights, no offer to have the car detailed properly - which was the MAIN issue that I raised originally.
Meanwhile a friend pointed out that the headlights were very "foggy" looking, and 1 wheel has a slightly buckle, both of which would likely also cause the car to fail a roadworthy. How did this car pass its roadworthy in the first place?
Eventually I spoke to Vic Roads, who advised my best option was to get a roadworthy done myself, to confirm the issues were indeed in default, and then take that to the car yard and request the repairs. If they fail to comply, then I could report them to Vic Roads and Consumer Affairs.
I tried again, managed to actually speak to George - who denied any knowledge of my correspondence with Matt - and finally the parts were ordered and received at the car yard in Dandenong... however I live in Geelong, 90 minutes away, and so they told me I had to pay the additional postage - even though I'd said all along they could send the parts to me to save them paying a mechanic to instal them.
Back on the phone to Matt this time, expressing my anger, and that if they wanted me to pay postage, I would instead be coming back with my own roadworthy. Matt then offered to pay the postage himself so I could get the parts. They arrived 2 days later, which was today.
In review, my fault was in trusting a used car salesman; in the end it took months and legal threats to get a partial resolution.
On a side note... should a car yard be registered for GST? Because according to ABR website, they are not registered for GST...?
Sorry, I take that back. GEORGE MILTOS originally registered the name as a sole trader, but then cancelled the registration and re-registered it as a company.