Stung by their own silliness

Broken down 9000km from home – Pitar Fernandez amd Iguacua Jarpa.

They're worldly wise, have been travelling for years. But at the same time the Chilean cousins are a little naïve and now they're slapping themselves.

“It's so terrible and so sad,” says 31-year-old Chilean visitor Iguacia Jarpa. “I can't believe were so stupid – arrgh!”

Iguacia and 27-year-old cousin Pitar Fernandez bought a car on a whim at Auckland's Ellerslie Car Fair last weekend. It was a lemon, a 1996 Nissan station wagon for $2500, which blew up in the big dip at Te Puna.

“We had it for one day, just one day and this,” says Iguacia.

“I said to the man who sold it to us: ‘Promise us it is a good car. Promise us it will work'.” She is kicking herself now. “I told him this car would be our home until we found work. I told him the $2500 we gave him was all the money we had in the world.”

It mattered for nothing. There were no due diligence, no checks done. They didn't even lift the bonnet. They just wanted to get the deal done and get on the road. “The owner was happy to make a quick sale. “We know, we know; it was very silly.”

The cousins had been in Queenstown, flew to Auckland to buy the car and were headed to the Bay of Plenty for seasonal work in the kiwifruit industry.

“We did keep $500 aside – but now it's either food or the car being fixed,” says Pitar. But $500 might not cut it because repairs could run to $1000. Then the Warrant of Fitness expires in a month and the vehicle registration next week.

What they didn't know – and should have known had they checked – was $547.83 of work had been done to engine leaks on the car on February 16. It may have raised alarm bells for them.

So no job, nowhere to stay, no money and some bills looming. It's heads in hands and where to next.

The cousins did alert the sellers to their predicament. It was a heartfelt message.

“Hi guys, can't believe what just happened, we trusted you and you sold us a car that has failed…you think that's okay? I can't believe you would do this to innocent people. We want to try to reach your heart and conscience as the decent people we thought you were.”

The cousins asked the Auckland pair to transfer the money needed to fix the car…“or we will be forced to take legal measures. We will go to the Police. You will have a bad time”. The vendors were unmoved. “We are really sorry for you guys. We have been to the Police. We are not responsible for any damage you have done to the car.”

A classic lesson in caveat emptor for two visiting Chileans.

But the cousins have at least found a knight in shining armour – a sort of folk hero ‘Wild Bill' Hickok of Te Puna-type chap called Maurice, who works for the garden accessories outfit called Living Trends in Te Puna.

While another local charged the visitors $45 for taking a look at the engine and filling the radiator with the girls' own drinking water, Maurice arrived on his white charger.

And when he should have been working, he was restoring our international relations.

He took the girls in for the night on the deer farm where he stays. Gave them a bed and took them to the Whakamarama fish and chip shop for a Kiwi treat and also shouted them a couple of “cervas”. And if they wanted to stay the following night then, as far as Maurice is concerned, that would be absolutely fine as well.

To help out Pitar and Iguacia, email:


I don't think the previous owner is necessarily a scumbag

Posted on 15-03-2017 10:06 | By BennyBenson

Depends on his/her knowledge of vehicles. To say the previous owner did something dodgy would require them to know the car was going to blow up..can you prove that they knew this? The radiator failed on a vehicle of mine, I caught it just in time, but I had no previous insight into the fact that was going to happen. Had I sold it to someone the day before, not knowing this was going to happen, and they ignored the warning signs and blew up the engine, would I be a scumbag? Just sounds like bad luck to me. Any car can break down any time without much warning. It is concerning that these visitors come to this country with so little funds that they're basically going to be begging off the public for accommodation and food though and they've only just got here.

Load of BS

Posted on 14-03-2017 17:57 | By bryceh

Chris what you suggest is rubbish! One of my cars is 20 years old has just clocked 150k and has never missed a beat! In fact get this....... One month ago I changed the original battery!! Now I have a stereo that doesn't work because the factory code is unknown.... It always flies through a WOF, is registered and fully insured..... To say my car will fail because it is 21 YEARS OLD is bullshit!This is not something Fair Go would be interested in, nor as a viewer, would I watch the episode. It is one deal gone wrong, not a handful. These people have already admitted that what they did was stupid, and they are right! However they have I am sure, learned a very important lesson.The previous owner is a SCUMBAG


Posted on 14-03-2017 10:47 | By overit

If these girls knew nothing about cars they should have done some homework. Trademe would have told them this was way too much to pay for a car of this age and with a Rego about to run out. They should have popped the bonnet for a look at the radiator, oil leaks and anything Google lists in buying a car. They also should have asked a bloke at the Fair for some advice and he probably would have pointed out that that car needed to have a WOF one month old or less to be sold. They got screwed big time, its not nice but boy they were totally ignorant. I beat the thief owner could not believe their luck.

Wrong, Papamoaner

Posted on 14-03-2017 09:22 | By Chris

There is no dishonesty here. They bought a TWENTY ONE YEAR OLD car for under $3,000, with virtually no provision for when it inevitably fails (despite rego and WOF being shortly due). This car is not, as the article describes it, a "lemon". You can hardly expect a 21 year old car to be reliable. They own the car now, I don't know why they're speaking with the previous owner.

Bad publicity for our country

Posted on 14-03-2017 07:17 | By Papamoaner

Go to "Fair Go" at TVNZ.They won't like it when the TV film crew turn up on their doorstep, but the dishonest scum will deserve it

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