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Buying a Used Car

Buying a car from a licensed motor vehicle dealership provides many advantages. Unlike buying privately, the dealer has an obligation to guarantee there is no money owing on the car. They also have to disclose all the relevant information about the car, like whether it has had flood or hail damage, if there has been odometer interference, or if there has been major modifications that may impact your decision to purchase the car.

In certain conditions a dealer is obliged to provide a dealer guarantee to repair any defects the vehicle might have after you buy (this is formerly known as a statutory warranty) . The dealer often allows you to trade in your old car, however you may get more money if you sell it privately.

Buying from a private seller

Buying a car privately involves relying on your own judgement and knowledge. You can arrange for a vehicle inspection at your own cost but there is no dealer guarantee. Also, making sure that the vehicle is not encumbered, stolen or de-registered is the responsibility of the buyer. Doing a PPSR check will help you confirm this. Always ask the seller for:

  • the current certificate of registration
  • it is recommended that an Inspection Report (formally known as a "Pink Slip") be provided by the seller which is no more than 42 days (6 weeks) old
  • proof that the person selling the car is the owner e.g. a sales receipt or driver’s licence to help identify the seller
  • the registration number
  • the engine number
  • the VIN (vehicle identification number) or chassis number.

Note:
Ensure the information shown in the paperwork matches what is on the actual car.

Important:
If you buy a car privately, under the Australian Consumer Law it must be sold with clear title but no dealer guarantees are provided. If you choose to buy privately, it is essential that you get an independent inspection, or you could be stuck with a vehicle that has been poorly repaired or even written-off. No matter how good the bargain looks, always be extra cautious when purchasing a car privately.

Getting a Vehicle Inspected

An MTA (Independent) Vehicle Inspection will help protect both you and your passengers. MTA Vehicle Inspections are truly unbiased vehicle inspection specialist.

The skilled technicians will thoroughly inspect a vehicle you wish to purchase and provide you with an easy to read report (with photos). MTA Vehicle Inspections is a mobile service, yes, they come to you (restrictions apply). Inspections can be carried out prior to purchase at a Motor dealer or if buying privately at home/work.

Most importantly, they do not own, operate or have any affiliation with a service workshop or repair centre. You can be confident that an MTA Vehicle Inspections report will only point out genuine defects that really do require attention.

For more information visit: www.mtavehicleinspections.com.au 

Buying from an auction

The benefit of buying a car at auction is that you could pick up a real bargain. The cars come from situations including deceased estates and repossessed vehicles. The risk with buying at auction is that the car is not covered by a dealer guarantee and generally you can’t take it for a test drive. You can arrange an independent vehicle inspection at your own cost but not on the day of the auction.

Auction houses are responsible for ensuring the cars they sell have no money owing on them. Most auction houses require a 10% deposit or $500 at the fall of the hammer.

Where motor vehicles are sold with number plates attached to private purchasers they have to have a Safety Inspection report issued by an Authorised Inspection Station (AIS). The inspection report must:

be not more than six weeks old at the time of auction
state that the vehicle is fit for registration
be attached to the vehicle at the time it is offered or displayed for sale, or be provided to the purchaser within 7 days following the sale

When a vehicle is offered or displayed for sale at auction a Form 11 should be displayed. The Form 11 must state that the vehicle is not subject to the dealer guarantees under the 
Motor Dealers and Repairers Act 2013 and displayed either on the vehicle, adjacent to the auctioneer or at each entrance to the auction. Consumer guarantees under the Australian Consumer Law may continue to apply depending on whether the vehicle sold at auction is owned by the dealer who is conducting the auction.

Buying from a car market

Car markets bring buyers and sellers together in the one place without the need to drive all over town. However, you are still buying ‘privately’ and therefore need to rely on your own judgement and knowledge. There will be no guarantee of title or dealer guarantee. They can also be an outlet for backyard operators to dispose of sub-standard vehicles, or even possibly stolen vehicles.

If a vehicle is not registered

If the vehicle is not registered you need to take it to an Authorised Unregistered Vehicle Inspection Station (AUVIS). They will conduct a roadworthiness check and identify the vehicle for the purpose of registration for the Roads and Maritime Services and provide you with a blue slip.

To find your nearest AUVIS, call 1300 137 302. 

Buying online

If you buy a vehicle online you are either buying from a dealer or buying privately and you should follow the guidelines which apply to those methods of sale. When you purchase goods from overseas and something goes wrong, you will not be covered under Australian Law.

If you purchase a vehicle in another state or territory, you may be protected by the Australian Consumer Law, but will not be covered by NSW laws regulating the local motor vehicle industry. 

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