A man who bought a car from a dealer, who he claimed was operating under a company name which did not exist, won his Small Claims Court claim at Naas District Court yesterday, Thursday February 23.
The Court was told that the dealer threatened to complain to the Immigration Services about the transaction, as a result of which Judge Desmond Zaidan asked the Gardai to investigate the matter.
Kunjam Patel, from 94 Callenders Mill, Celbridge, took the case against Patrick Watson, of Ellen Cottage, Coill Dubh, Naas.
Mr Patel, an IT engineer working in Cork, who had put in a claim for €1,986, said he bought a second hand car Citroen off Mr Watson for €8,000 and when it displayed problems with oil leaks he had difficulty getting it fixed and he had been trying to get that done for five months.
The 2008 car had 121,000 kilometres on the clock.
Mr Watson, for his part, said they had fixed an oil problem but a fuel problem emerged some time later. He said they paid for this.
During the hearing before Judge Desmond Zaidan, Mr Patel said that Mr Watson had operated under a company name but when he (Mr Patel) went to check it out, he found it did not exist. This, he claimed in court, “was a kind of fraud”.
He also told Judge Zaidan that at one point that Mr Watson “threatened me and my family that he had a friend in the immigration office”.
He told the hearing that Mr Watson was trying to use personal information in the dispute and that, at times, he found it difficult to contact Mr Watson over the issues.
Mr Watson said it was false to suggest the company did not exist. He said he sold the car on Done Deal.
At this point, Judge Zaidan said Mr Patel was correct in stating that the company did not exist.
Mr Watson then said he was trying to set up a business under the Back to Work scheme.
He said there were two faults. The first was fixed and, in the case of the second, he sent the car to a Citroen main dealer, and they repaired it.
He also said that Mr Patel had asked for refunds in relation to car parts not related to the specific faults with the car, but he (Waston) could not verify the faults in question.
At this point, Judge Zaidan asked Garda Inspector Mel Smyth if anybody could up a sign saying they sold cars. Inspector Smyth he did not know. Judge Zaidan responded: “It is interesting.”
Mr Watson said he he did not suspect Mr Patel was illegal but he was angry with him and made the threat.
Judge Zaidan told Mr Watson, who said he was an aircraft engineer: “You are not coming out of this smelling of roses.”
Judge Zaidan told Mr Watson he was very fortunate. If the case was in the District Court, Mr Patel would get the full €8,600 back.
Mr Patel said he did not get to meet Mr Watson’s friend from immigration.
Judge Zaidan told Mr Patel: “You should make a formal complaint to the Gardai.”
The judge said he would refer this matter to Inspector Smyth to investigate.
He directed that €2000 be paid to Mr Patel, within 14 days.