Man’s bid to have ‘lemon’ car ruling overturned rejected – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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Man’s bid to have 'lemon' car ruling overturned rejected

A man accused of selling a “lemon” second hand car has lost an appeal against a court order to repay the buyer.

The Supreme Court heard that Amber Simons bought a second-hand Peugeot from Robert Peets in 2017 for $13,000 – but found the car was riddled with faults.

Magistrate Maxanne Anderson later ordered Mr Peets to pay Ms Simons $14,945.30.

Mr Peets went to the Supreme Court with an appeal to have the decision quashed.

Puisne Judge Shade Subair Williams found that the car was not fit for purpose, based on the evidence before the court.

She said: “Magistrate Anderson properly observed that the faulty gearbox issues in addition to the leaking and the burning smell of the car all occurred within less than one month of purchase of the car.

“The level of disrepair was such that the car was incapable of reversing without mechanical attention.”

Ms Simons said Mr Peets had told her the only thing wrong with the vehicle was a crack in the windshield when she bought the car.

But a few weeks into ownership she noticed a leak from under the car and a burning smell.

Ms Simons said she contacted Mr Peets, who told her to top up the oil level.

She again noticed a leak in April 2017 and Mr Peeks told her to top up the car’s air conditioning unit.

She contacted Mr Peets the same month to complain that a “gearbox faulty” warning light had come on, but he said to turn the car off and on again and suggested she had been driving in the wrong gear.

Ms Simons said she gave the car back to Mr Peets for a tune-up, and he took the car to a Peugeot dealer.

She added Mr Peets contacted her and said she had driven 4,500km since the “gearbox faulty” warning turned on, which had dried up the gearbox and the car would require $1,500 of repairs.

Ms Simons said she had the car – which could no longer accelerate or reverse – examined by three other mechanics, who dubbed the vehicle “a lemon”.

Mr Peets told the court he had offered to sell the car to Ms Simons for $6,500, but she had asked for a variety of cosmetic improvements, which increased the price to $13,000.

He denied that he told Ms Simons to take the car to a gas station and said that she should have brought the car back to him sooner rather than “ignore” the “gearbox faulty” warning.

Mr Peets added that Ms Simons had complained about car on Facebook, which devalued it.

He said he had a buyer lined up to buy the car for $14,500, but the opportunity was lost because of the court proceedings.

Mr Peets said he sold the car “as is”, but Mrs Justice Subair Williams said there was an “implied term” that the car was of satisfactory quality.

She said that, given the evidence before the court, Mrs Anderson was right to find that the car was not mechanically sound when sold.

Mrs Justice Subair Williams added in her written judgment last month that the “impressive appearance” of the car was also properly taken into consideration.

She said: “One may conclude that an honest mechanic would not agree to add $6,500 worth of cosmetic accessories to a car which he knew to be mechanically substandard to the point of being unfit for its purpose.

“Additionally, one can only infer that the respondent would not have agreed to spend an additional $6,500 on a car if she knew that the same car would be destined for disrepair weeks following the sale.”

Mrs Justice Subair Williams said it was clear Mr Peets had misrepresented the condition of the car.

She said: “Ms Simons’ evidence was that the appellant expressly told her, when delivering the newly purchased car, that the only thing wrong with the Peugeot was a crack to the windshield.

“Her evidence was that she informed the appellant of the car issues as they arose and she followed the appellant’s instructions at each step of the way.

“This court has no basis to go behind or reject that evidence.”