Wed, 12 Jun, 2019
"We have nothing left": 83-year-old tricked into buying $26K car she can’t use
An 83-year-old great-grandmother who requires the help of a walking frame to get around says she felt pushed into buying a $26,000 Great Wall ute that she is unable to use.
As Mary Dewes hasn’t driven in three years, the ute isn’t required.
Her husband, Philip, also has a brain injury that causes him to constantly fall asleep, which means he is unable to drive as well.
However, when Philip replied to an online car ad, salesman Christian Van Lieshaut quickly called them up.
"We got the call, he said he was the salesman and would we like a demonstration run and Phillip said yes," Mrs Dewes told A Current Affair.
"Next thing we know, he was at the door and we were out in the four-wheel drive."
Mary Dewes is 83, needs a walking frame to get around, and suffers memory loss. But that didn’t stop a car dealer selling her a 1.7-tonne ute. #9ACA | FULL STORY: https://t.co/Yon1H6cxOJ pic.twitter.com/GDQWEAEEjf
— A Current Affair (@ACurrentAffair9) 11 June 2019
Mary said that Mr Van Lieshaut picked them up at their retirement home and he was able to see that she needed the walking frame to move around. Mary also said that he had to help her get into the ute as she was unable to do it by herself.
Once the test drive was finished, they were driven straight to the car yard where a contract was put in front of them.
Mary said she and her husband felt “pushed into something we didn’t understand”.
Mary’s daughter Tracy explained that her mother suffers from memory loss and by the next day was unable to remember signing the contract. Mary also thought she had put down a deposit of $1000, instead of the full $26,000 price tag.
"My mum won't even look at the car because it's too distressing and she ended up in hospital the other day and it's caused a lot of stress for her," Tracy said.
"That was their life savings and they have nothing left."
As the couple now have a car, they are rendered ineligible for the retirement home’s free bus to the shops, which left them struggling for weeks to buy groceries.
Mary is angry at herself and her husband for the situation.
"I'm angry with ourselves and I'm angry with that man that did not take anything into consideration," Mary said.
"All he wanted was our signature on that contract."
There is no cooling-off period with a new car, but after some investigation by Tracy, she realised that there’s a provision in the contract for the dealer to tear it up and keep 10 per cent of the purchase price.
Tracy reached out to Van Lieshaut and begged him to tear up the contract, but he declined to do so.
Van Lieshaut declined to comment when approached by A Current Affair, but his boss Paul Nelson agreed to discuss the issue with Tracy off camera.
The day after the segment aired, Mr Nelson drove to the retirement village where Mary and Philip live to apologise and offered a refund. Mr Nelson also retrieved the Great Wall ute.