TIPS FOR BUYERS
McCraw cautions that, to some extent, consumers should moderate their expectations when buying a used car. “You can’t expect a used vehicle to meet the same quality as that of a new vehicle,” he says. “This does not mean that consumers should put up with poor quality or service, however.”
If you must buy from a ‘barbedwire- and-Wendy- house’ dealer, find out if that dealer is registered with an i ndustry body l i ke the Independent Dealers’ Association or t he Retail Motor I ndustr y Organisation and its constituent association the National Automobile Dealers’ Association. If a dealership isn’t registered, why not? Does it have something to hide?
Ensure that the used-car dealer is registered with the South African Police Services in terms of the Second-Hand Goods Act of 2009 and has been issued with the relevant operating licence. If the dealer is not registered then the dealer is operating illegally.
Buying from a private seller? You can get a good deal, but be aware that you are not covered by the Consumer Protection Act. Still want the vehicle? Take it to DEKRA and ask for a condition report. DEKRA is affiliated with the AA but you don’t have to be either an AA or a DEKRA member to ask for a technical i nspection, a multipoint check or a condition report. The CPA i s applicable to cars bought on auction.
Because roadworthy certificates are sometimes bought on the dealer floor – the vehicle gets nowhere near a testing centre – Odendaal recommends you ask the dealership for a DEKRA certificate of roadworthiness, even if you have to pay a couple of rand extra, it is still worth it. A dealer may also offer you a discount if you take the car for a roadworthy on your own steam, but this is in fact the dealer’s responsibility, not yours.
Ask your dealership for a copy of the implied warranty of quality when you buy a car. You can return the vehicle up to six months after receiving it if the vehicle is not in good working order or of good quality. But note that if you have damaged the vehicle in any way you cannot return it.