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In most cases when buying a second hand vehicle from a licensed motor dealer you are entitled to a “Mandatory Statutory Warranty”.
This protects you from financial loss if the vehicle is faulty.
There are two types of statutory warranty, Class A and Class B.
CLASS A – Valid for 3 months or 5000 km, whichever happens first.
CLASS B – Valid for 1 month or 1000 km, whichever happens first.
You are also protected by ‘consumer guarantees’. Visit www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au to find out more.
Statutory warranties do not cover any defect the following:
lights other than a warning light or turn indicator light used as a hazard light
installed radio, tape recorder or CD player
air-conditioning system (for a Class B warranted vehicle)
service items such as spark plugs, wiper rubber, distributor point, oil or oil filter, heater hose, fuel or air filter
paintwork or upholstery that should have been apparent before the buyer took delivery of the vehicle
accessories not fitted to the vehicle when it was sold.
The following vehicles do not have a statutory warranty:
vehicles being sold on consignment for a private seller
vehicles sold for restoration
an unregistered vehicle that can not be registered in Queensland because of its design.
Vehicles with no statutory warranty must be clearly identified and advertised. Auctioneers and motor dealers must place notices on the windshield or price tag, place signs at the main entrance to the premises or give them to you.
Cooling off periods are valid for one business day when purchasing from a motor dealer. The motor dealer cannot refuse to grant you a cooling off period.
Top 3 things to remember
The sales contract is binding for the dealer as soon as both parties sign the contract. As the buyer, you are bound by the contract only after the cooling-off period, unless you take possession of the vehicle during that time.
Terminating a contract during the cooling-off period
If you wish to terminate a contract during the cooling-off period, give the dealer written notice before the period ends. You can email, fax or deliver the notice personally.The dealer can keep up to $100 of your deposit. They must return the rest of the money you paid and your trade-in vehicle.
Buying a vehicle that is free and clear of any debt is known as clear title.
A Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) certificate gives you information about any outstanding debts attached to a vehicle.
For example: if a bank has given a loan to the previous owner of the vehicle, who has not yet fully repaid, the bank has a financial interest in the vehicle. The bank is legally able to repossess the vehicle if the loan defaults.
If the PPSR certificate shows any outstanding debts, make sure the previous owner clears them before you pay for the vehicle.
If the used vehicle is being sold by a licensed motor dealer or licensed auctioneer, they must guarantee clear title.
Even though they are not required to give you a PPSR certificate, you are guaranteed clear title regardless of whether you are given a certificate or not.
If you buy from a private person, it is your responsibility to get a PPSR certificate.
Vehicle plate checks
Check the build plate to see the construction date of the car. Make sure the advertised year of the car is the same as its true age.
The compliance plate indicates the date the car met certain Australian safety standards, making it legal to drive. This date is not necessarily the same as the manufacture date of the car and it does not indicate the year model.
Pre-Purchase Inspections can pay for themselves several times over. Having a qualified mechanic complete a Pre-Purchase Inspection can save you money in the long run in unknown repairs. A Queensland Safety Certificate does not mean that the vehicle is mechanically sound. It is always recommended to have a Pre-Purchase Inspection carried out.
If you are not buying from a licensed dealer, take extra precautions.
Top 3 differences between buying privately versus buying from a licensed dealer.
you do not have a statutory warranty
you are not entitled to a cooling-off period
the seller is not bound by the same laws as licensed dealers
IMPORTANT: You cannot access the Claim Fund if anything goes wrong (i.e. you won’t be able to make a claim for compensation of any financial loss).
Visit www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au to find out more about the Claim Fund.
The contract of sale for the purchase of a motor vehicle
is a legally binding document.
DO NOT SIGN until you are absolutely sure you want to buy the car.
Make sure there are no unfavourable clauses in the contract. Seek Legal advice if unsure
When you buy a new car from a dealership, there is no cooling-off period.
Make sure you are completely happy with the car and the contract before signing anything.
A vehicle is classified as a new car if it has never been licensed or registered. A demonstration car is not considered a new car.
Check the build plate to see the construction date of the car. The compliance plate details the date the car met certain Australian safety standards, making it legal to drive. The compliance date will not necessarily be the same as the build date, especially on imported vehicles. Make sure the advertised year model of the car matches its true age.
The build plate date is commonly used to value a car when you re-sell it. If you have bought a car based on its compliance date, rather than build date, its resale value could be significantly less than expected.
Negotiate the deal
As you visit each dealer, ask them to give you a firm price in writing for the model you want. Get prices from as many dealers as possible.
Dealers often ask for a deposit to prove you intend to buy the car. Only pay the minimum deposit the dealer will accept to reserve the car.
Before you hand over your cash, check if your deposit is refundable, and if so, under what circumstances.
Make sure you get a receipt for every payment you make.
Do your own pre-delivery check on the vehicle. Check to see that:
there are no dents or chips in the paintwork
there are no cuts or scratches on the interior
any accessories or extras you have ordered have been included
Try to resolve any disputes directly with the dealer.
Ask for all commitments of resolutions/repairs to be in writing.
If you are not happy with the dealer’s response to your concerns, visit www.fairtrading.qld.gov.auto explore your options.
Does not carry a statutory warranty
Has sustained water damage
Is a repairable write-off (i.e. it must pass a written-off vehicle inspection before it can be registered)
Is a statutory write-off (i.e. it cannot be registered).
Usually you are not allowed to test drive a vehicle before bidding on it at auction, but you should be able to inspect it.
The seller must guarantee clear title to the buyer. This ensures there is no money owed on the vehicle and no other party can claim a financial interest in it.
Unless the car has been identified as an unregistered vehicle, you must also be given a safety certificate (previously known as a roadworthy certificate). Visit www.tmr.qld.gov.au to find out more about safety certificates.
Remember, once the hammer falls you can’t back out of your purchase. Carefully study the conditions of sale before bidding.
A restorable vehicle is:
20 or more years old
for sale for restoration.
To bid on a restorable vehicle at an auction you must register yourself with the auctioneer before the auction begins. The vehicle’s statutory warranty is waived as a condition of the sale.
First try to resolve any problems you have directly
with the auction house. All auction houses must have complaint handling procedures. Then if you are not happy with the auction house’s response to your concerns, visitwww.fairtrading.qld.gov.au to explore your options.
Find a reputable repairer
Make sure the repairer you choose is reputable, qualified to do the job and has access to the necessary equipment. Going to the same reliable repairer each time will build up a service history for your car. It will also allow the repairer to better advise you of upcoming repairs.
Get at least two written quotes for any repairs or services. Estimates are often verbal and approximate, while quotes are more specific and itemise the work to be done. The quote should outline the repairs and the costs, including parts, labour and any agreements or promises given. Preparing a written quote may involve the repairer having to diagnose the fault. Check before leaving your car whether you will be charged for this.
Don’t be pressured into having a repair carried out. Ask the repairer to explain the fault clearly without using technical jargon. If you are unsure about the repairs or they sound expensive, shop around for other quotes and advice.
Explain the problems clearly
Be clear and specific when describing the problems with your vehicle to a repairer. The more the repairer knows about the problem, the more likely they will be able to find the cause and fix the problem the first time.
It’s best not to ask for specific repairs or diagnose the problem yourself. If you do ask for a specific repair and it doesn’t fix the fault, you cannot hold the repairer liable.
TOP 9 Tips to avoid unwanted repair bills
If you still are not satisfied with the response, visit www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au to explore your options.
Alternatively you can contact the Motor Trades Association of Queensland for advice if your repairer is a member.
Regular services will help keep long-term repair costs down. They can also identify minor problems that can be repaired before they become more costly major problems. Correctly maintain your vehicle by following the manufacturer’s service schedule. A well looked after vehicle will most likely have a higher resale or trade-in value if you choose to sell.
If you buy a new car, check that:
All exterior lights are working
All glass surfaces are clean and free from chips, cracks and scratches
The windscreen wipers and washers work properly
The horn works
The handbrake holds the car still on steep hills
The seat belts are in good condition
The tyres are in good condition and at the right pressure
All gauges and warning lights are working when you start the car
All fluid and oil levels are topped up when needed.
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