Croco Motors Under Fire Over Fuel Refilling Boob
10 July 2023
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By A Correspondent| Croco Motors is entangled in a legal dispute with one of its regular customers Kudzai Mundangepfupfu whose Mercedes Benz vehicle was refilled with diesel instead of petrol at a facility run by the leading car dealership, the ZimEye has learnt.

Legal documents gleaned by this publication show that Mundangepfupfu’s vehicle, a Mercedes Benz C 200 was refilled with diesel by a fuel attendant at Croco Puma Bond service stand on April 25,2022.

Subsequently, upon realising the error, Croco Motors engaged its resident mechanics to drain the diesel from the car, and after doing so, refilled the vehicle with petrol.

As shown by correspondence written by Mundangepfupfu’s lawyers to Croco Motors’ legal advisers, the vehicle, which has since been inspected by Zimoco, the car has multiple dysfunctional faults, problems which Mundangepfupfu claims only arose as a result of the refuelling mistake.

Unfolding events, as narrated in the legal documents, show that Croco Motors extended a Ford Ranger T6 vehicle to Mundangepfupfu for her use while attending to her dysfunctional car at the vehicle dealership’s garage.

However, Croco Motors is now demanding its vehicle back, while Mundangepfupfu insists she will not hand it back before the entity adequately compensate her for the technical faults diagnosed after her car was erroneously refuelled with diesel instead of petrol.

“Our client advised us that on April 25, a fuel attendant at Croco Puma Bond Service stand erroneously fuelled her vehicle…with diesel instead of petrol. Having realised the error, Croco Motors then engaged their resident mechanics to attend to the car,” wrote Mundangepfupfu’s lawyers on May 9, in a letter addressed to Croco’s legal representatives.

“We are advised that the Croco Motors mechanics proceeded to take the car to your workshop whereby they opened the bonnet and located the fuel supply line. They disconnected it, and began draining the tank by repeatedly turning the ignition…Our client has sought independent advice and was informed that the manner in which the vehicle was handled is not the standard procedure that ought to have been taken which was also confirmed by the Croco workshop mechanics.”

In light of the above, Mundangepfupfu’s lawyers further wrote, “our client requests a full mechanical report of the car through Zimoco to ascertain the extent of damage…”

However, in a letter dated May 17, Croco Motors lawyers, Atherstone and Cook, responded to Mundangepfupfu’s legal representatives dismissing her account of events.

“We wish to state that our client (Croco Motors) does not agree with your client’s (Mundangepfupfu) narration of events. The factual position is that your client brought her vehicle for fuelling and went straight to join a small (short) diesel queue despite that she is aware that the diesel and petrol pumps are separate,” wrote Croco Motors legal representatives.

“This was not expected of her considering that your client is a regular customer who is very familiar with the place and saw the clearly labelled pumps.”

Through the same correspondence, Croco Motors demanded Mundangepfupfu to collect her car which is still in its care and also return the courtesy vehicle it gave her for use.

Atherstone and Cook wrote: “Your client was advised to return the courtesy vehicle following the completion of the inspection of her car and she has refused to return the courtesy car.

“Considering that our client is not responsible to the issues picked up in relation to your client’s car, your client has no legal basis to continue holding on to our client’s car.”

However, Mundangepfupfu’s lawyers countered the demands stated by Croco Motors, and insisted she would only return the courtesy vehicle once her dysfunctional car is repaired.

Her lawyers wrote back on May 19: “Our client could not get the vehicle in such a state, she requested that the vehicle be fully attended and restored to the state it was before the fuel mishap.

“Consequently, she could not return the complementary vehicle, she awaits the repairs to be done before such handover as agreed between the parties.”

Upon Mundangepfupfu’s refusal to comply, Croco proceeded to file a law suit, seeking to compel her to return the courtesy vehicle. The car dealership has also indicated that it will also bill Mundangepfupfu for storage charges accrued while her car is in its care.

However, Mundangepfupfu, in her opposing affidavit, deposed on July 8 averred that Croco Motors had caused “extensive” damage to her vehicle.

“The applicant (Croco Motors) caused extensive damage to my vehicle so much that it has not performed as before their involvement,” Mundangepfupfu wrote.

“From the foregoing, the applicant has no right to disposes me of the vehicle…I am being inconvenienced by conduct of the applicant. I am further being put out of pocket to defend this application on a matter where applicant can address.”

The matter, which has now escalated to the High Court is registered under reference number 4169/22.