Beware of used car salesmen who won’t let you examine that Honda in the clear light of day


Alf can understand the disappointment of the solo mum with two young special-needs sons who bought a dunger and now regrets it.

He can’t understand her claim to have been duped.

Nobody forced her to buy the bloody car and she had every opportunity to walk out on the deal when the vendor (according to her story, anyway) denied her a chance to take a good look at what she would be buying.

Let’s repeat that.

He denied her a chance to take a good look at what she would be buying.

Did this not sound a very loud alarm bell?

The tossers at Stuff have attempted to sell this tale of woe as a sob story today.

The story mentions Trade Me, although the role played by Trade Me is not altogether clear.

A solo mum with two young special-needs sons is distraught after buying a car on Trade Me that turned out to be riddled with rust and had an odometer that had been wound back by 130,000km.

Kerryn Hailwood, 24, of Upper Hutt, says she was duped into buying the 1992 Honda Accord by a seller who refused to let her inspect it until it was dark and raining.

The writer has plenty of sob stuff to rub into the story.

The woman is on an invalid carer’s benefit.

Her two sons, one four, the other six, are intellectually disabled, on the autism spectrum. Moreover they suffer a raft of chronic medical conditions.

One has a hole in the heart and is due to undergo surgery soon.

The other suffers periodic seizures and has an eye disorder that can result in retinal detachment.

Oh, and she lives in Upper Hutt, which falls only a bit short of living in Invercargill.

Hailwood says she needs a reliable car to ferry the boys to and from appointments, mainly at Wellington Hospital.

She bought one.

The story does not tell us if it had a warrant fitness.

It does say she believed it needed only a rear lightbulb – but…

She has since found that structural rust in a pillar means it is all but unwarrantable, as she cannot afford the repair costs.

“Everything I have gets chewed up with medical and travel expenses,” she said. “Their father’s not in the picture, so there’s no child support.”

This means taxpayers are doing the supporting.

The story goes on:

Hailwood paid $950 in cash for the car in a transaction completed independently of Trade Me. She called the seller last week to get her money back, but was greeted with abuse.

“He said, ‘Why don’t you go f . . . yourself and call the police so they can tell you you’re wasting your time’.”

When The Dominion Post contacted the suspected seller, he said Hailwood was “full of shit” and hung up.

Is this this the demeanour of somebody from whom you would buy a second-hand car?

Nope. Alf neither.

Hailwood said the seller was wilfully obstructive and cagey. She did everything she could to check out the condition of the car, which she thought was a reliable runner with low kilometres.

What – exactly – was doing everything she could (and let’s not overlook the small matter of the bloody thing being up for grabs for $950?

Moreover, what alarm bells failed to ring when she found the deal was being struck independently, and not through Trade Me?

Oh, and did she not notice the loose front bumper that had been haphazardly taped on (according to the story)?

Or check the registration papers that showed it was a 1992 model?

Early in the story we are told:

“More often than not I’ve ended up in tears talking about it,” said Hailwood, who is on an invalid carer’s benefit.

Here’s hoping the story at least saves some other buyers from an experience that ends in tears.

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