BE SAVVY BUY­ING YOUR NEXT CAR

Pilbara News - - Lifestyle - Gwyn­neth Hay­wood Gwyn­neth Hay­wood is the se­nior re­gional of­fi­cer for Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion.

Here at Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion’s Kar­ratha of­fice, the most com­mon in­quiries and com­plaints we’re tak­ing from sec­ond-hand car buy­ers re­late to war­ranties and guar­an­tees.

Buy­ing a car is usu­ally a big deal.

You’re about to spend a sig­nif­i­cant amount of money.

When the ve­hi­cle is sec­ond-hand there are ex­tra things to con­sider.

Your first stop might be to search on­line clas­si­fieds or sec­ond-hand car sales sites.

How­ever, it is vi­tal you are aware a pri­vate sale, where an in­di­vid­ual car-owner sells their ve­hi­cle to you one-on-one, is not usu­ally cov­ered by con­sumer laws. This means there is no war­ranty and you will find it al­most im­pos­si­ble to re­turn the car if it turns out to be faulty.

To avoid buy­ing a lemon, you should:

Have the ve­hi­cle in­spected by a com­pe­tent li­censed me­chanic be­fore pur­chase.

Re­view the Per­sonal Prop­er­ties Se­cu­ri­ties Regis­ter at ppsr.gov.au, to see if the car has been pre­vi­ously writ­ten off, stolen or has any money owing on it.

Check the ve­hi­cle li­cence and its ex­piry date.

Make sure the ve­hi­cle iden­ti­fi­ca­tion num­ber, num­ber plate, en­gine num­ber, year of man­u­fac­ture and the owner de­tails match the li­cence pa­pers.

Ver­ify a claim of “full ser­vice his­tory” by see­ing first-hand the stamped log book. Peo­ple who sell sec­ond-hand cars on a reg­u­lar ba­sis in a busi­ness ca­pac­ity need to hold a mo­tor ve­hi­cle dealer’s li­cence in WA. This ap­plies to back­yards as well as car yards.

Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion reg­u­larly pros­e­cutes un­li­censed ve­hi­cle deal­ers whether they are home-based or op­er­at­ing from a busi­ness premises.

De­spite our mar­ket­place mon­i­tor­ing and le­gal ac­tions, we know un­li­censed car deal­ers are con­tin­u­ing to ad­ver­tise on­line, for ex­am­ple, us­ing so­cial me­dia, and we’re con­cerned about the stan­dard and qual­ity of ve­hi­cles be­ing sold.

If you want to make sure you are pro­tected by the law, you can check whether a mo­tor ve­hi­cle dealer or re­pairer is li­censed by us­ing the Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion web­site com­merce.wa.gov.au/cp/li­cence­search.

Be­fore sign­ing on the dot­ted line to buy a car from a dealer, re­mem­ber there is no cool­ing off pe­riod; once the con­tract is signed it is legally bind­ing. Ask about the ve­hi­cle’s his­tory be­fore putting pen to paper and, where pos­si­ble, sight ev­i­dence to con­firm that in­for­ma­tion.

If ap­pli­ca­ble, in­quire about any time re­main­ing on the man­u­fac­turer’s war­ranty.

Al­ways read the fine print and un­der­stand any con­tract clauses.

Never sign blank or in­com­plete forms.

A li­censed car dealer must pro­vide a war­ranty on most used ve­hi­cles if:

They are less than 12 years old.

They have not trav­elled more than 180,000km. The price is more than $4000. Apart from these spe­cific war­ranties out­lined in WA’s Mo­tor Ve­hi­cles Deal­ers Act, in most cases con­sumer guar­an­tees pro­vided by the Aus­tralian Con­sumer Law will also ap­ply, for sig­nif­i­cant is­sues even af­ter these other war­ranty pe­ri­ods have ex­pired. This means that if there is some kind of fault or fail­ure, you should be able to seek a rem­edy un­der the ACL.

If you have a prob­lem with a sec­ond-hand car you’ve bought, and you’re not sure about your rights, con­tact Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion by email on con­sumer@com­merce.wa.gov.au or phone 1300 30 40 54.

You can also find fur­ther in­for­ma­tion on our web­site at com­merce.wa.gov.au/con­sumer­pro­tec­tion/cars-boats-and­mo­tor­bikes.

Car re­pairs

Bush me­chan­ics or mo­bile or home-based re­pair­ers need a li­cence. Li­censed re­pair­ers usu­ally dis­play the dis­tinc­tive yel­low-and-black sign with the tick of ap­proval.

If you see some­one of­fer­ing ser­vices to fix cars on Face­book Buy, Swap and Sell pages, Gumtree etc, en­sure they have a re­pair­ers’ li­cence be­fore al­low­ing them to work on your car.

You can also re­port un­li­censed car re­pair­ers in WA to Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion.

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