Chch woman awarded $28,000

A Christchurch woman has been awarded $28,000 after the Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal found defects in her Audi A6 had been concealed.

The Tribunal ruling stated that the latent defects in Joanna Fisher’s Audi A6 were deliberately covered up.

The defects were discovered during a warrant of fitness check in 2017, a year after Fisher purchased the vehicle from Chris Bird Motor Company.

The tribunal accepted that the car company’s managing director, Chris Bird, was not aware of the defects when Fisher purchased the vehicle.

Archibalds, another Christchurch motor company, discovered a “sophisticated” cover up of faults when carrying out the warrant of fitness.

Archibalds’ technician found the seat belt pre-tensioners were not plugged in and the two front airbags also had altered wiring.

“The vehicle’s wiring had been altered to mask these faults,” the tribunal stated.

“The altered wiring was, according to Archibalds, ‘tricking the airbag system into registering that it was functioning correctly”, the tribunal found.

“This meant the warning light on the dashboard identifying a problem with the airbags was suppressed.”

Chris Bird then complained to the New Zeaalnd Transport Agency (NZTA) because the vehicle has been issued with two warrants of fitness prior to Fisher purchased the vehicle.

“The tribunal’s assessor … observed that if this test had been done properly when the vehicle was inspected on entry into New Zealand, then the defect would have been picked up.

“The NZTA report suggests that if the seatbelt defect was discovered then it is probable the airbag issues would also have been found at the same time. The NZTA report concluded that neither of the earlier warrants of fitness should have been issued for the vehicle.”

The tribunal accepted Bird’s evidence he had been unaware of the defective seatbelts and airbags. 

Fisher was entitled to reject the Audi and to a refund of $24,979. She was also entitled to a refund of Archibalds’ invoice for $3279. 

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