A great-grandmother who struggles to walk unassisted and suffers from memory loss has revealed how she was allegedly duped into spending her life savings on a $26,000 ute that she can’t even drive.
Mary Dewes, 83, claimed she handed over her hard-earned cash to a car salesman, who was well aware of her ailments. Sadly, Mary’s husband is also unable to drive due to a brain injury which causes him to constantly fall asleep.
Sharing her story on A Current Affair on Tuesday night, the distraught grandma explained the car salesman arrived at their home at a retirement village after her husband responded to an online car advertisement.
“We got the call, he said he was the salesman and would we like a demonstration run and Phillip said yes,” Mary told the Channel Nine program.
“Next thing we know, he was at the door and we were out in the four-wheel drive.”
The grandma, who needs a walking frame to get around, said the car salesman would have obviously noticed she struggled to walk and even had to help her into the massive vehicle.
Despite Mary’s inability to drive she said they were then driven to the car yard where they were handed a contract to purchase the vehicle.
Mary’s daughter Tracey Loveday said her mother couldn’t remember signing the contract from there, and believed she had only put down a deposit of $1,000.
However, sadly she was wrong and Mary had agreed to purchase the vehicle in full – handing over a whopping $26,000. After discovering what had happened, Tracey inspected the contract further and discovered a provision for the dealer to tear it up and keep 10 per cent of the purchase price.
But the car salesman allegedly declined to do so, leaving Mary without any money to rely on.
“It’s disgusting, it’s not only the fact that they’ve preyed on an elderly person but my mum could have gotten in that car, driven it, and killed someone, or killed herself and do you think the car yard would feel guilty?” Tracey questioned. “I don’t think so.”
She added: “My mum won’t even look at the car because it’s too distressing, she ended up in hospital the other day, it’s caused a lot of stress for her. That was her life savings and they’ve got nothing left.”
To make matters worse, as Mary had a car she was proven ineligible to use the retirement home’s free bus service, meaning she had no way of getting to and from the shops to buy her groceries.
“I’m angry with ourselves and I’m angry with that man that did not take anything into consideration,” the devastated gran said. “All he wanted was our signature on that contract.”
The car salesman in question declined to comment to A Current Affair. However, the sales manager of the dealership has since apologised to the elderly couple and offered them a refund for the vehicle. He also told A Current Affair he would be launching an internal inquiry into the matter.