Friday, 26 September 2008

Buyer beware of specialist car dealers.

Well, the official figures now confirm what the less credulous of us have believed for some time. We are in recession. So time for Gombeen Man to do an Eddie Hobbs and don the mantle of consumer champion.

Those of us who don't work in construction - and hence have some chance of keeping our jobs for now - had better be careful if looking to make a purchase that might involve putting down a deposit (such as a house or a car), given the increased chances of businesses going to the wall in economic climes such as these. Margins are tight, and credit is expensive, and banks are slowly facing the reality of having to call in their debts.

Coy as the banks might be, there is a plethora of builders on the edge out there - maxed out and ready to fold. So, if you are someone who has been priced out of buying a home due to Government tax incentives/shelters for investors over the past goodness knows how many years, just be careful not to get suckered at the last.

Cars too. Particularly if you looking to buy new from an independent dealer. A couple of months back, Orwell Motors - a long established Dublin dealershop - hit the wall. Echoing independent dealership Parkwest Autopoint, which went into receivership leaving customers with lost deposits of up to EUR 5,000, as the boom hit its zenith in 2006. Interestingly, the man behind Parkwest - Kevin Flynn - is now in business again under the guise of Kevin Flynn Specialist Cars (KFSC), operating out of Grand Canal Street, importing simlar models as he did in his Parkwest incarnation.

And while it is perfectly legal to go bust with punters' deposits, and start again in an identical business with a different name under Irish business law, it somehow doesn't seem quite right. Not for the consumer anyway, who gets scant enough protection in this country anway.

Top tip: if you're buying a new car, do so from an official dealer - that way you are protected by the manufacturer should the dealership go bust.

If you are buying a new house - just wait. They're going to get cheaper anyway, and most of the cowboys will be flushed out in the next year or so.


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Little Nicky said...

Well said. I also find it interesting to note that it is in this time of recesion that we hear talk of university fees. A distraction debate, to keep all those blaming eyes off the politicos, or just a reach-around in the arse fuck of irish economic life, I dont know.

My first time on the blog, but i counldn't think of a more apt name

The Gombeen Man said...

Thanks Little N.

This is uncharted territory for me... usually only get abusive comments on this blog!

Yes, sure isn't it a great little country altogether??


Anonymous said...

Sound advice. Official dealer is the only way to go... otherwise put down no deposit.

I lost a 5 grand deposit when Parkwest Autopoint went under. Even though they were registered with SIMI it made not a jot of difference... my deposit was gone and I had no comeback.

I would be interested to know if anyone else had similar experiences? Email me at