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Man wins rare car at auction, wife refuses to pay the $400k bill, court steps in

It’s what dreams are made of, getting your other half to agree to your lavish rare car purchase. But dreams can quickly turn into nightmares when that agreement doesn’t stick, as one auction winner found out.

In a Lloyds car auction held in September 2021, a 2017 HSV GTS-R W1 was up for grabs. But, it wasn’t just any GTS R W1, it was a one-off build finished in XU3 Yellah for a VIP HSV customer.

According to the Courier Mail, the auction winner, Ms Cindy Mikhael, gave her husband permission to bid in the auction. Ms Mikhael’s husband then bid all the way through to $425,000 and was the successful bidder in the auction.

Great news, right? Umm, not quite.

The owner of the car was a Gold Coast property developer named Tony Lenan, and according to the Courier Mail, Mr Lenan’s company Jonata Investments Pty Ltd never received payment for the car.

Jonata Investments gave Ms Mikhael six months to pay for the unique car before it started to get stroppy and involved the courts.

This particular GTS-R W1 was finished in XU3 Yellah, a colour that originally featured on the VS GTS-R. It wasn’t available from the factory in that colour though and was only offered to a VIP HSV customer. That same customer also had in the auction another custom order, a one-of-four 2017 HSV Maloo GTS-R W1 ute, along with a 1996 VS GTS-R with delivery miles.

Court documents show that Ms Mikhael’s husband bid on the auction with her permission, but it’s unclear why the couple thought it would be okay to simply not pay for the car after winning.

The District Court in Southport originally heard the case made by Jonata Investments, according to the Courier Mail, and agreed that a payment should have been made within four days of winning the original auction and that the requirement for payment still stood – this decision was made without Ms Mikhael defending the case.

Not satisfied with that decision, Ms Mikhael successfully appealed the ruling in October last year, this time she was represented by lawyers, hoping for a different outcome.

According to the Courier Mail, the court again ruled in Jonata Investment’s favour, ordering Ms Mikhael to pay for her husband’s flash new wheels.

Judge Holliday, according to the Courier Mail, said, “this is the clearest of cases.”

“The defendant has no real prospect of defending the plaintiff’s claim and there is no need for a trial of the claim.”

The judge reiterated the terms and conditions the bidder agreed to when participating in the online auction and that they must pay $448,241, which is the original winning bid amount, plus fees.

So the moral of the story? Double and triple check with your other half when agreeing to buy a rare car in an online auction.

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