Customers ask for $50 million compensation from Auckland car dealership because Mercedes they bought didn't have towbar

Customers who bought a $150,000 Mercedes from an Auckland dealership wanted compensation of $50 million because the car didn't come with a towbar as advertised.

Instead, the dealer was ordered to install the towbar.

Tom Chiu and Teng Teng Ong bought the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC 63 from Armstrong Prestige Auckland in October last year. However, they quickly became unsatisfied with their $144,950 purchase when they discovered it was towbar-less.

According to a recent Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal decision, the pair accused the dealership of "misleading conduct by representing that the vehicle came with a tow bar package, when it did not, and that Armstrong Prestige Auckland then refused to install a tow bar".

The consumers argued the matter had caused "stress and inconvenience" and wanted to give the car back, get a refund and compensation of $100,000 - having initially asked for a $50 million rectification.

They told the tribunal they should be entitled to compensation under the Consumer Guarantees Act because the car didn't match its advertised description.

"Mr Chiu and Ms Ong say that they should be entitled to reject the vehicle because Armstrong Prestige Auckland has failed or refused to install a tow bar despite being given a reasonable opportunity to do so. I consider that the evidence shows otherwise," the decision said.

"I do not think it was unreasonable for Armstrong Prestige Auckland to initially question its liability to provide a tow bar because Mr Chiu and Ms Ong knew that the vehicle did not have a tow bar attached at the time of sale… [they] also did not raise the missing tow bar with Armstrong Prestige Auckland before purchasing the vehicle."

The tribunal did not rule in the consumers' favour. It dismissed their claims of compensation and to reject the car.

Armstrong Prestige Auckland was ordered to install a towbar on the car within 10 working days of the tribunal's decision.