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Perth grandmother Maggie Thomas’ fight with dealership over $18,000 fees

A Perth grandmother has slammed a car dealership for its lack of compassion after they chased her for nearly $20,000 when her partner died and she pulled out of a contract to buy a motorhome.

Maggie Thomas and her partner Peter Edwards had been planning a trip around Australia earlier this year and placed a $5,000 deposit on a $121,000 motorhome.

But when, a few weeks later, Mr Edwards, a Rockingham sea rescue volunteer, suffered a second, massive stroke she called the dealership to say she no longer wanted to see the purchase through.

“We didn’t realise how big the stroke was until we saw the scan, they showed us the scan and said that he was not going to survive this one,” Mrs Thomas told Today Tonight.

Mrs Thomas with partner Peter Edwards before his death from a stroke, earlier this year.
Camera IconMrs Thomas with partner Peter Edwards before his death from a stroke, earlier this year.

With her partner in hospital, Maggie contacted Bergmans Auto Group, who had sold them the motorhome, saying she no longer wanted to buy it.

“She started talking about $16,000 and I had no idea what she was talking about and a section or clause 8.2 on the contract.”

In fact, the 73-year-old grandmother-of-ten was being hit with an $18,000 fee for breaking the contract, or 15 per cent of the sale price.

“I just said ‘look I can’t handle this right now, we’ve just been told that this is serious, Peter’s not going to survive, I can’t deal with it’ and the following day she put it all down in an email to me.”

Mrs Thomas responded to the email saying she was happy to forgo the $5,000 deposit they had put down, but told them she simply couldn’t afford the extra penalty.

Former Rockingham VMR Commander Peter Edwards was a skipper of the rescue vessel Jaimee Lee.
Camera IconFormer Rockingham VMR Commander Peter Edwards was a skipper of the rescue vessel Jaimee Lee.

“If you have a contract I know that you can lose the deposit and I just thought okay, I’m prepared to lose the deposit, leave me alone.

“On the day of the funeral at 5pm they wanted an answer from me and when I then sent another email saying that please, it’s the day of his funeral, please have some sort of compassion.

“Sometimes they’ve got to look at the human side of a contract.”

As Maggie was farewelling her partner, Bergmans agreed to reduce the fee to $11,500, then $10,000.

Now, after two months of wrangling, Mrs Thomas tried to cut one final deal, offering to pay an extra $2,000, on top of the $5,000 she had already lost.

When contacted by Today Tonight, Bergmans Auto Group said they had suffered financial hardship as a result of the motorhome they have yet to sell, but they agreed to Mrs Thomas’ offer.

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