By: Gurbir Singh                                                                                         Freelance Feature Writer & Journalist                                        

Amit Godara, a 21-year-old Indian student of New Lynn, Auckland is not likely to forget September 20 in a hurry. All his savings and dream of commuting to his future job in his car, were shattered when ‘debt collectors’ came knocking on his door on that fateful day.

Within minutes, his newly acquired blue Mazda Demio (KMR 426), was towed away on the orders of Go Finance Company for an alleged overdue debt of $10,857.36 on the car.

Shocked, Amit could not understand what was going on as he had bought the car just six weeks back for $2,500, and car’s registration was also transferred in his name on August 4.

As Amit had not raised any loan himself and had paid the full buying price in cash, he realised he had been scammed by the seller as the deal was made on Facebook.

Narrating the details of the events as they unfolded, dejected Amit told this journalist, “It all started when I posted a ‘looking for car’ message on a Facebook group page few months back and was contacted by one, Scott Paul who had a car to sell.”

“I met with this seller and he showed me all the necessary paperwork related to this blue-coloured Mazda Demio,2005,” Amit added.

Amit who hails from Haryana and finished his studies from International College of Auckland in July this year, told Scott (the seller), “I am here on a student visa and can’t afford an expensive car, and I need the car to commute to work.”

“Don’t worry, mate, I’ll give you this for $2,500 only,” Scott seems to have told Amit, as he was moving to Christchurch with his family.

“I took him at his face value,” says Amit and next day, August 3, he paid Scott cash and Amit became proud owner of this car.

“I was not told or was aware that money was owed on the car – neither by Scott or the registration authority”.

Repossession Order

With car now gone, Amit is left only with the ownership-slip of his Mazda Demio car; copy of Scott Paul’s Learner’s Driving Licence and Repossession/Seizure Authority document of Go Car Finance that shows the overdue debt of $10,857.36 and $654 as ‘repossession charges’ on top of it.

Amit has been running from pillar to post to get his car back since the day it was towed away.

“I have been to the Onehanga police station; Citizen’s Advice Bureau; Consumer Court but  have been denied help…I have been told by everyone, including the police, it is a private, Facebook deal, so nothing can be done.”

Amit’s efforts to contact Scott have failed as has not responded to any of his messages.

Two days back Amit received his work visa that would enable him to explore job opportunities and work. But Amit is sad. He has lost all his savings and his faith in people’s honesty.

His only hope now perhaps is to file a case in the Disputes Tribunal. But, it could be time consuming and add to his costs. And, who knows what the outcome would be if seller is untraceable?

Amit has learnt his lesson, but have you?

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