Check under hood of car deals
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1300 30 40 54 during office hours if you need assistance.