Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Caveat emptor

Some recent posts reminded me of a couple of examples of disingenuous tosh as perpetrated by the motor trade in Qatar.

For reasons that I don't need to go into here, I wrote off a Galloper back in 1999. Although the car was driveable, the whole body was bent. There was a camel-shaped dent in the roof, and the windscreen looked like a chandelier inasmuch as it consisted of a million irregularly-shaped chunks of glass. I got the insurance money and busied myself with finding an alternative vehicle.

At a party a month or so later, I chanced to be in conversation with a guy who was interested in buying a used Galloper. "The Grumpy Goat used to have one of them," said the host, "Why don't you ask him what they're like?"

It transpired that the car he'd been looking at in a used car dealer's showroom was my old one, repaired by some back-street body shop. I warned the party guest not to touch the car with a barge pole. Later, I nefariously went into the Rose Cars Showroom on Salwa Road and spoke to the salesman.

"Is very good, clean car, Sir. One careful British expat owner from new. Full service history."

OK so far...

"He went back to his home country."

Did he indeed?

"No Sir. It has never been in an accident."


I could see the ripples in the roof line and the back door that was misaligned. I put a copy of a photograph showing the car before it was repaired into the glove box in order to alert any potential buyer.

The same salesman then pointed me at a late model Pajero. Again, he told me about the main dealer full service history. He even suggested that I go and talk to the Mitsubishi agent. Which I did.

According to the history that the agent got from the VIN, the car had originally been imported into Dubai, where it had been written off in a roll-over accident. Dubai police had refused to endorse the repair, presumably owing to a bent chassis, so the car had been exported to Qatar. And no, there was no service history at all. Not even a little bit.

I would like to believe that over the last few years the motor trade has cleaned up its act. But then, sometimes my quixotic nature can get the better of me...


Keefieboy said...

Didja have to pay diya for the camel?

Grumpy Goat said...

Nope. The police officer (the one with the big sofas and cups of tea) decided that it was the camel owner's fault.

Qatar police decreed that as the owner was so heedless of his animal's wellbeing as to let it wander around at night, the owner could take the loss and serve him right. The camel itself had vanished by the time I got out of the police station an hour later, (I suspect into a cooking pot) so there was no way of identifying either the camel or its owner.

moryarti said...

Good investigative work on the Pagero. Keep doing that and hopfully you'll end up with a good deal..

Grumpy Goat said...

It is always worth getting the vehicle history checked out with the main agent.

The twenty-five character Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is a unique reference and should track if any vehicle has been pranged, written off, reported stolen, etc. It also records the country of origin and the original specification.

The VIN is also useful in ensuring that any spare parts are for that particular variant of the model.


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