Pre­vent heart­break buy­ing a car

Geraldton Guardian - - NEWS - Danni Bloom­field Danni Bloom­field is the se­nior re­gional of­fi­cer with Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion — Mid West Murchi­son Re­gion Depart­ment of Mines, In­dus­try Reg­u­la­tion and Safety.

Buy­ing a car is of­ten the sec­ond big­gest pur­chase in your life af­ter a house. Know­ing your rights un­der the Aus­tralian Con­sumer Law (ACL) and do­ing your re­search be­fore you buy could save you thou­sands of dol­lars, not to men­tion heart­break.

Al­ways be aware that when you sign the con­tract you are en­ter­ing into a legally en­force­able agree­ment. With no cool­ing off pe­riod on car sales in Western Aus­tralia, some deal­ers will charge up to 15 per cent of a con­tract’s value if you can­cel the sale.

But the dealer has to jus­tify their cal­cu­la­tion of dam­ages and you should al­ways ques­tion the charges if you feel they are un­just.

For ex­am­ple, if you are buy­ing a car val­ued at $28,000 you could be out of pocket $4200 in pre-es­ti­mated liq­ui­dated dam­ages.

Ask the dealer how long it took them to sell the ve­hi­cle af­ter you pulled out of the sale. If it was the next day or within a week, it is highly un­likely that ap­ply­ing the full 15 per cent liq­ui­dated dam­ages is ap­pro­pri­ate.

Dur­ing the last three fi­nan­cial years Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion re­ceived 119 com­plaints re­lat­ing to deal­ers hold­ing de­posits of 15 per cent liq­ui­dated dam­ages):

■ $28,501 liq­ui­dated dam­ages held (from to­tal de­posits held of $82,428).

■ $18,101 re­dress was achieved for con­sumers (from to­tal re­dress of $51,776).

Also keep in mind that buy­ing a ve­hi­cle, whether it is on­line or at a show­room, can be a highly emo­tional ex­pe­ri­ence and it is easy to be swayed by a shiny car and an ex­pe­ri­enced sales­per­son.

If prom­ises are made about the car that has in­flu­enced your de­ci­sion to buy it, en­sure they are writ­ten into the con­tract, in­clud­ing de­tails about a de­liv­ery dead­line.

The car you buy must be of ac­cept­able qual­ity, fit for the pur­pose you ex­plained to the sales­per­son, and must also match the de­scrip­tion ad­ver­tised. Re­mem­ber you still have the right to a re­pair, re­place­ment or re­fund if con­tract con­di­tions are not met. To make sure the right ve­hi­cle at the right price is wait­ing for you at the end of your jour­ney, use pub­li­ca­tions such as the Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion “Buy­ing a car – a buyer’s check­list”, to be­come bet­ter in­formed be­fore you buy a mo­tor ve­hi­cle.

More in­for­ma­tion about buy­ing a car is also avail­able on the Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion web­site. In­quiries can be made by email­ing con­ or by call­ing 1300 30 40 54.

Know­ing your rights and do­ing your re­search could save you thou­sands of dol­lars when buy­ing a car. Pic­ture: Getty

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