Thursday 29 September 2016

Those damn statistics; weird stories of trying to buy abroad; dog gone it; curry hooks

Published 23/03/2016 | 02:30

(stock image)
(stock image)

Statistics, figures and . . . statistics. Last week we reported that Hyundai were the most 'looked-up' brand in Ireland according to a report of Google volumes by carwow.

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Well, Toyota were on quick as you like to point out that Google Trends (as opposed to Volume) puts them ahead of Hyundai in Ireland.

You know what they say about statistics.

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Here are a couple of Irish case studies from a new report on people buying, or trying to buy, cars abroad. Take heed and beware.

The customers turned to ECC Ireland for assistance (part of the European Consumer Centres Network which covers 30 countries).

An Irish buyer, interested in a second-hand car at a UK dealership, paid a £1,000 deposit and then transferred the balance of £35,620. That's a lot of money.

However, the dealer refused to release the car. Why? Because the buyer presented an Irish passport. This is crazy stuff, but it's official.

The dealer refunded the consumer and stated that "the reason for not completing the sale of the (car) is because (the consumer) paid the funds from a bank in southern Ireland".

The report, unsurprisingly, says: "The consumer felt discriminated against and expressed his dissatisfaction due to the losses incurred as a result of processing bank transfers as well as the travelling expenses, such as flights and accommodation."

Following the intervention of the Irish and British ECCs, the dealer agreed to reimburse these expenses, as well as paying compensation for the inconvenience.

"In total, the consumer received a payment in excess of €2,000." Strange. Weird. As was this: "The dealership also agreed to retrain its staff to avoid similar situations in future, and to sell a car to the consumer if so requested."

Here's another one. An Irish person intended to buy a car via a website claiming to be operated by a car auctioneer based in the UK.

He paid £8,000 by bank transfer but no car was delivered. It subsequently emerged the website had been registered just months before the transaction and used graphic materials and vehicle specifications from another site, and that there were other irregularities in connection with its own content and advertising channels.

The matter was referred to the police (Action Fraud). According to the police, they had received reports from 40 victims on that fraud.

So the old warning of Buyer Beware applies when buying at home - or especially abroad.

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I remember when Nissan introduced their 'curry hook' on the dashboard of an Almera hatchback.

It was March 1996 and we all delighted in espousing its virtues (the hook's - not so much the Almera, though it was a great old workhorse) because it was a handy way of keeping bags of anything upright. Especially takeaway food.

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Opel, or should I say Vauxhall, have gone to the dogs altogether.

They've only gone and put a Corsa in the hands - sorry, paws - of a dog to test their latest Advanced Park Assist technology.

No, it's not April Fools yet. They sat Gerty the Boxer in the car while its system detected and then parked in a slot. Reportedly people passing by on Wimbledon High Street took a lot of interest.

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