Vehicle still awaiting repairs in dispute over payment

A Pietermaritzburg man has lost all hope of ever driving his trendy car again after it has been awaiting repairs at panel beaters for three years. 

The owner, Sphamandla Ndlovu, claims he has spent more than R80 000 so far on repairs to his blue VW Polo TSI after the vehicle was damaged in an accident in 2015. It is still not fixed.

The vehicle was initially taken to Hail Busters panel beaters, owned by Bevan Clayton, and is currently in the possession of Chunky Hammond, who took the vehicle over when Clayton’s business closed down.

Ndlovu alleges he was initially quoted R55 000 for the repairs to his car (which had suffered damage to the roof when it rolled) but says he “messed up” by not demanding an agreement in writing and said he was asked to pay “more and more money” as time went by.

He paid cash each time, allegedly at Clayton’s request, and said different secretaries took the money from him and gave him receipts. He showed The Witness documents that appear to be receipts totalling R84 000.

Ndlovu said because the car was not getting fixed and he felt out of his depth, he asked his uncle Malusi Ndlovu to step in and help him get the car sorted out. However, the car is still not repaired and is sitting in Hammond’s yard covered with sail.

Malusi said they feel “ripped off” and tried reporting their concerns to the police, but was told that there was not much they could do as the car had not been stolen. He said he also went to the small claims court to get his nephew’s money back, but was told the amount was too high and he needed to get a lawyer to help him. “I don’t have money for a lawyer,” he said.

Hammond confirmed to The Witness that the car is currently in his yard. He said after he obtained the vehicle, Clayton had delivered certain parts to him to repair the car but said he is still waiting for the correct roof to be delivered to him.

“Bevan had ordered and paid for the normal roof whereas we need a panoramic roof which costs R5 000 more than the normal roof. So I am just waiting for that to be sorted and I will start working on the car,” he said.

Hammond added that he would only be handling the panel beating repairs to the body of the car and the mechanical repairs were between the Ndlovus and Clayton.

Clayton’s attorney, Kogulan Chetty, said it was at the Ndlovus’ request that the car was removed to Hammond for further attention because the Ndlovus were allegedly unable to pay Clayton for the repairs.

“Our client repaired the motor vehicle to the extent the funding allowed. The vehicle was transferred to Hammond with the Ndlovus’ knowledge and consent,” said Chetty.

Chetty also said some of the receipts that have been produced by Malusi did not bear the stamp of Clayton’s company (Hail Busters) which “places into question the authenticity of such documents”.

“It has always been the practice of our client that when a receipt is generated for payment received for services rendered, the receipt issued contains our client’s official stamp,” he said.