Be­fore buy­ing a used car, have a close look at this

The Star Early Edition - - NOTICE BOARD - MO­TOR­ING STAFF

WITH ris­ing prices, buy­ing a new ve­hi­cle is not an op­tion for many peo­ple. But be­fore you buy a sec­ond-hand car, make sure you put your emo­tions aside and do some clear-headed think­ing about your pur­chase.

“Buy­ing a car in South Africa is of­ten the sec­ond big­gest fi­nan­cial com­mit­ment a con­sumer makes af­ter buy­ing or rent­ing a home. The wrong de­ci­sion on a car pur­chase can be a very costly mis­take,” says Vishal Prem­lall, Di­rec­tor of the Mo­tor In­dus­try Work­shop As­so­ci­a­tion (MIWA).

“It re­ally pays to take the time to do re­search and get a pro­fes­sional opin­ion be­fore sign­ing any con­tracts or hand­ing over pay­ment. A con­tract needs to pro­tect you as the buyer so make sure when you sign you aren’t waiv­ing away your con­sumer rights,” he says.

He ad­vises con­sumers to firstly ask what guar­an­tees are in place. If there are none, the seller needs to be trans­par­ent about why this is the case. The Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Act is very clear re­gard­ing min­i­mum guar­an­tees on trans­ac­tions.

“If the deal hinges on ad­di­tional work be­ing done to the car, do not con­clude the deal un­til the work is com­pleted. Also be very clear re­gard­ing time­lines for com­ple­tion of the work. When you are ready to move for­ward with a deal, it is ad­vis­able to pay a de­posit first. Then when sat­is­fied that all re­lated work needed and agreed upon is con­cluded, pay over the bal­ance,” he ad­vises.

An im­por­tant point to con­sider is build­ing a port­fo­lio of ev­i­dence, i.e. re­duc­ing all agree­ments and un­der­tak­ings into writ­ing. “This way should you need recourse through a body like the Mo­tor In­dus­try Om­buds­man then you have tan­gi­ble proof to back up your case. Ver­bal agree­ments and con­tracts are of­ten dif­fi­cult to prove.”

Prem­lall adds the fol­low­ing quick tips and im­por­tant ques­tions to ask be­fore pur­chas­ing a ve­hi­cle:

You are buy­ing pri­vately – spend more time on the de­tail

Be­fore pay­ing a de­posit – en­sure that all checks and bal­ances are done.

Does the car have a cur­rent li­cense disc and reg­is­tra­tion pa­pers?

Is the car in a road­wor­thy con­di­tion? Are you deal­ing with the owner of the car? Has the car been mod­i­fied? Are there any war­ran­tees and guar­an­tees still avail­able on the car and will this trans­fer on change of own­er­ship? Is the car be­ing sold for a fair price (re­search avail­able via the in­ter­net)? Does the car have a ser­vice his­tory that can be ver­i­fied? Take the car for a test drive. Take a car spe­cial­ist with you. Has the ve­hi­cle been in any ac­ci­dents? Is the mileage cor­rect and can this be ver­i­fied? When last was the car ser­viced and when last was the cam­belt changed? Do a me­chan­i­cal re­port on the car be­fore con­clud­ing the deal

Check the con­di­tion of the tyres.

“Re­mem­ber that if it looks too good to be true, it prob­a­bly is,” he says.

Prem­lall says MIWA and the Retail Mo­tor In­dus­try (RMI) will gladly as­sist if you are seek­ing ad­vice. For con­tact de­tails go to www.mi­wasa.com.

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