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Couple take bank to court after erroneous ad leads them to buy wrong property

A Krugersdorp couple are at the end of their tether after they "bought" their dream house showcased on a website, only to be told by the bank after they had paid that the wrong property had been advertised - what they had purchased was an empty stand with a half-built structure.

Now schoolteacher Cornelius Coetzee and his wife, Susanna Coetzee, a retired teacher, are taking Absa Bank to court as they insist on having the home they saw in the advertisement and that they had set their hearts on.

After viewing a picture of the house on www.myroof.co.za, the couple went to inspect the property and paid for it in cash.

They even signed the deed of transfer papers without any of the parties at the time realising that it was for the "wrong" property.

The couple said in papers before the Pretoria High Court that in July 2011 Absa had on its website advertised and offered to sell a property in Krugersdorp for R910 000. The couple said the advertisement stated that the property was at 37 Loftus Road, Krugersdorp.

The advertisement had a picture and a brief description of the property - a four-bedroomed, two-bathroomed house. There was also a street map attached.

The Coetzees visited the property on July 8, 2011.

A security guard, employed by Absa and who guarded the house, opened the premises so they could view the house, they said.

The property was not occupied and had four bedrooms and two bathrooms, as stated in the advertisement.

It also appeared to be the same house as on the picture, they said.

The couple submitted an offer to purchase the property for the full price of R910 000. This was accepted by Absa, they said.

The amount was paid into the trust account of the bank's transferring attorneys and all the documentation was signed for the transfer of the property.

During August 2011 the keys were handed to the Coetzees and they proceeded with repairs to the amount of R200 000, pending the finalisation of the transfer.

They said the bank's transferring attorneys were in constant communication with them about the progress of the transfer.

Some time later an estate agent enquired from the couple whether they would be prepared to sell the stand which they had bought.

The couple were puzzled by this, as the property they had bought consisted of a house, and not only a stand.

It later transpired that the erf number stipulated in the advertisement and carried over to the deed of sale related to a different property - one with an empty stand and a halfbuilt structure.

The couple said Absa maintained that the street address and picture in the advertisement were both incorrect and it intended to sell the stand with the half-built structure.

Absa, through the website, subsequently changed the advertisement by replacing the picture of the property with one that displayed the stand and the half-built structure.

The bank also changed the address from Loftus Road to Wagtail Place, Krugersdorp.

The couple said it was now nearly two years since the incident and the matter remained unresolved.

The property had not been transferred into their name, the purchase money still remained in the trust account and they had not been paid for the improvements to the house.

It also appeared that someone else was now living in the Loftus Road property.

The couple will soon turn to court for an order directing the bank to transfer the house into their name.

The couple stated that the present value of the property was R2 million. They asked that if the court did not allow the house to be transferred into their name, that the bank be ordered to pay them R1 090 000 - the difference between the current value of the house and the purchase price already paid by them.

Absa, in defending the claim, said the property was, without its knowledge, wrongly described as being located in Loftus Street. But the title deed and description of the erf number as contained in the office of the Registrar of Deeds given on the advertisement was for the Wagtail Place property.

The bank said it was a bona fide mistake, which was not detected by either party at the time of signing the contract.

It said both parties signed the agreement for the purchase of the property as described in the title deed and as far as it was concerned, the couple bought the Wagtail Place stand.

(Pretoria News)


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