Check un­der hood of car deals

Pilbara News - - Lifestyle - Gwyn­neth Hay­wood

Car buy­ers should al­ways be mind­ful of war­ranties that ap­ply to ve­hi­cles they buy from car deal­ers.

Demon­stra­tion mod­els are of­ten an at­trac­tive al­ter­na­tive for those seek­ing a new car that may be of­fered at a re­duced price.

How­ever, con­sumers should be care­ful not to be mis­led by ad­ver­tis­ing or dur­ing the ne­go­ti­a­tion of the sale into rep­re­sen­ta­tions that the full war­ranty is some­thing the dealer has “thrown in” as an in­cen­tive to close the sale.

This is be­cause it is ac­tu­ally the cus­tomer’s le­gal en­ti­tle­ment.

WA’s Mo­tor Ve­hi­cle Deal­ers Act states that the pur­chaser of a demon­stra­tor ve­hi­cle is en­ti­tled to the full pe­riod of the man­u­fac­turer’s war­ranty from the date of pur­chase.

This means the clock has not started tick­ing on the man­u­fac­turer’s war­ranty from the time the ve­hi­cle was reg­is­tered by the dealer, but the kilo­me­tres trav­elled (which should be min­i­mal on a demo) will be de­ducted from the dis­tance as­pect of the war­ranty.

So a war­ranty of five years or 100,000km be­comes five years from the date of pur­chase and 100,000km mi­nus, for ex­am­ple, 5000km on the odome­ter of the demo ve­hi­cle.

It is the con­sumer’s choice whether to pur­chase an ex­tended war­ranty, which is of­ten of­fered dur­ing the ne­go­ti­a­tions, but this should not be seen as a means to cover the time pe­riod since the dealer reg­is­tered the ve­hi­cle.

In ad­di­tion to rights un­der the Mo­tor Ve­hi­cle Deal­ers Act, con­sumers are en­ti­tled to cer­tain guar­an­tees in ac­cor­dance with Aus­tralian Con­sumer Law.

These war­ranties in­clude that the car is safe, fault-free and matches the de­scrip­tion out­lined by the dealer. For ex­am­ple, a car’s airbags should work and if metal­lic white is the de­scrip­tion, a dif­fer­ent non-metal­lic colour car should not be sup­plied.

Once you make a writ­ten of­fer, there is no cool­ing off pe­riod to change your mind on mo­tor ve­hi­cle sales in WA.

Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion is aware of con­sumers be­ing caught out when sign­ing to “put a car on hold”, when in fact they are sign­ing to buy.

Car deal­ers can charge up to 15 per cent of the pur­chase price as liq­ui­dated dam­ages if a con­sumer pulls out of the deal with­out jus­ti­fi­ca­tion.

Email con­sumer@com­merce.wa.gov.au or call 1300 30 40 54 dur­ing of­fice hours if you need as­sis­tance.

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