Mum claims garage ‘didn’t tell her’ about final £6,900 payment for new car

A woman says she has been left with a car she cannot afford to pay off – claiming she was never told about the balloon payment at the end of her finance deal.

Pub landlady Jillie Stross bought a Dacia Duster SE Twenty from Wessex Garages in Newport, Wales last month because she needed a bigger space to be able to fit in her mobility scooter.

Jillie suffers from arthritis and needs the scooter when she is out and to enable her to look after her children, including her 12-year-old autistic son.

But she says but she was not told until afterwards about an additional "balloon payment" at the end of her deal.

"I was asked by the salesperson how did £198 per month sound.

"I thought it was a bit more than I had wanted to pay, but it was fine," Jillie told Wales Online.

"I was told when I came into the office that because of Covid-19 we couldn't go through the paperwork, and I was asked to sign it electronically.

"I thought I was signing up for a test drive at the time, and only realised afterwards I was actually buying the car."

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Jillie said she went through with the purchase as she needed a car which could easily fit her mobility scooter.

Jillie said she spoke to two of the salespeople who told her the other would have informed her about the balloon payment.

"They were both saying the other would have told me about it when I was buying it. But no-one did," she said.

She was left shocked when she found out that the balloon payment needed at the end would be £6,900.

Jillie, who says she cannot afford the final payment said: "I've been onto both the finance company and the dealer and was told there was nothing wrong, that I'd signed the papers and agreed to everything.

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"I said I had been told we couldn't go through the actual paperwork due to Covid-19 and so I'd never actually seen it before signing. I was never even shown the screen at the time or anything.

"I feel like an idiot and I am kicking myself for not insisting on seeing it at the time, but I trusted them.

"I think I was misled and that they are using Covid-19 to make a sale. I didn't think it was malicious or deliberate, I think they never told me and are now denying that no-one did.

"If I had known about the balloon payment, I would've walked out."

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Wessex Garages has since offered Jillie a different payment deal as well as an offer to buy the car back as a used vehicle.

"They've made an offer of a five-year agreement at £260 a month at 5.9% interest, but I can't afford that.

"The only way I could afford to pay this would be at 0% interest.

"I need the boot space in the car for my scooter, I need to be able to keep up with my kids," she told Wales Online.

Wessex Garages said in a statement: "We are aware of the issues the customer has raised and Wessex Garages has responded promptly and professionally at every stage.

"Whilst we are unable to comment on the specific details of this case, we have tried to offer alternatives and fully advised the customer of her options while trying to resolve the matter.

"Having investigated fully we are confident that there is no indication or miss selling, breach of regulations or policies.

"Wessex Garages currently have an Independent customer satisfaction score of 95% (Judge Services)."

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