You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Woman with memory loss, mobility issues sold a $26k ute she can’t use

9News.com.au logo 9News.com.au 11/06/2019 Chris Allen

A great-grandmother who needs a walking frame to get around and suffers from memory loss says she felt pushed into buying a $26,000 Great Wall ute that she can't even use.

Mary Dewes, 83, hasn't driven for three years.

Her husband Phillip has a brain injury which causes him to constantly fall asleep, meaning he's unable to drive - but when he responded to an online car ad, salesman Christian Van Lieshaut was quickly on the phone to them.

a man carrying a piece of luggage: Mary Dewes, 83, was sold a $26,000 ute despite needing a walking frame to get around. © A Current Affair Mary Dewes, 83, was sold a $26,000 ute despite needing a walking frame to get around.

"We got the call, he said he was the salesman and would we like a demonstration run and Phillip said yes," Mrs Dewes told A Current Affair.

"Next thing we know, he was at the door and we were out in the four-wheel drive."

Mrs Dewes said when Mr Van Lieshaut picked them up at their retirement home, he was able to see she needed a walking frame to move about, and in fact had to help her into the car.

a car parked in a parking lot: Mrs Dewes said she could not even drive the ute. © A Current Affair Mrs Dewes said she could not even drive the ute.

She claimed they were driven straight to the caryard where a contract was put in front of them.

Mrs Dewes said she and her husband felt "pushed into something we didn't understand".

Her daughter Tracy Loveday said Mrs Dewes suffered memory loss and that by the next day she could not remember signing the contract, and thought she had only put down a deposit of $1000 - rather than the full $26,000 price tag.

a man wearing a red shirt: Mrs Dewes said she had felt pushed into the sale. © A Current Affair Mrs Dewes said she had felt pushed into the sale.

"My mum won't even look at the car because it's too distressing and she ended up in hospital the other day and it's caused a lot of stress for her," Ms Loveday said.

"That was their life savings and they have nothing left."

Unable to drive the car, the Dewes were also rendered ineligible for the retirement home's free bus to the shops, meaning they struggled for weeks to buy groceries.

a person wearing sunglasses posing for the camera: The purchase took Mary and Phillip Dewes' life savings. © A Current Affair The purchase took Mary and Phillip Dewes' life savings.

"I'm angry with ourselves and I'm angry with that man that did not take anything into consideration," Mrs Dewes said.

"All he wanted was our signature on that contract."

There is no cooling-off period with a new car, so it initially seemed when Mrs Dewes signed the contract that there was no way out.

a person looking at the camera: Daughter Tracy Loveday said the stress of the purchase had sent her mum to hospital. © A Current Affair Daughter Tracy Loveday said the stress of the purchase had sent her mum to hospital.

However, Ms Loveday noticed there was a provision in the contract for the dealer to tear it up and keep 10 per cent of the purchase price.

She said she rang Mr Van Lieshaut and begged him to do just that, but was denied.

Lawyer Christine Smythe, an expert in issues affecting older Australians, said there appeared to be "an awful lot of red flags" preceding the sale.

a man standing in front of a car: Salesman Christian Van Lieshaut declined to comment. © A Current Affair Salesman Christian Van Lieshaut declined to comment.

"The salesperson certainly needs some reviewing of sales practices and procedures if he wants to proceed in that line of work," she said.

Mr Van Lieshaut declined to comment when approached by A Current Affair, while his boss, sales manager Paul Nelson, agreed to discuss the issue with Ms Loveday off-camera.

The day after being approached by A Current Affair, Mr Nelson drove to the Dewes' retirement village to apologise, offer them a refund and retrieve the Great Wall ute.

Mr Nelson also told A Current Affair there would be an internal inquiry into the matter.

More from 9News

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon