9news.com provides clear and concise information on how to protect oneself as a consumer in Australia.
Stuart Marsh, a Senior Producer at 9news.com, looked at what consumer protections there are for buying used cars privately.
On Aug 19, 2022, he published the article: Money Matters: Help! I bought a used car privately that turned out to be a lemon.
In the article, he mentioned,” It is vitally important to make every dollar stretch as far as possible, especially nowadays, when life is getting increasingly expensive.”
“Shoppers are always seeking answers to their questions and concerns on what they are and are not entitled to when dealing with retailers and manufacturers.”
The Used Car Story: Subaru
Last year, a guy in a driveway came to Stu and told him that he had bought a used Subaru online. The car drove fine, with all the papers and so on.
A week after buying the car, the guy said, it began to malfunction and emit large amounts of white smoke, resulting in a loss of power. Then, he took the car to his mechanic and the mechanic said that it needed a new head gasket, which would cost $2000.
The guy was really pissed off about this, considering he only paid $2,500 for the vehicle. He further asked Stu if he had any consumer protections to get his money back.
That’s why Getting a used car pre purchase inspection by an independent third party is something that you need to do before finalising the deal when buying a used car. After all, you wouldn’t want to end up with a lemon that has high mileage and no warranty. A used car pre purchase inspection would allow you to find out if there are any issues with the car.
Stu replied as follows to his question:
“It’s unfortunate to hear about the car trouble. I understand the feeling of driving a cheap, dodgy vehicle well because I have always driven them myself. To answer your question, no is the short answer.”
Stu added ‘When purchasing a vehicle privately (rather than from a licensed motor dealer), the responsibility is on the purchaser to perform the necessary used car pre purchase inspection. When purchasing a vehicle privately, there are no guarantees from the dealer.”
According to Australian Consumer Law, the car seller must ensure that the vehicle has a distinct title.
“Even before committing to the car. I would still be extremely cautious and would run a Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) check on the vehicle. You can find out if the vehicle has been reported as stolen or damaged, or if money is owed on it, for just $2.’ Stu Said
It’s always a smart idea to have an independent mechanic run a used car pre purchase inspection before you buy it, Stu says.
He added, “Yes, a used car pre purchase inspection does cost money, but for the same price as a tank of fuel (at least today’s prices), you can save yourself from some serious headaches.”
If you go ahead with a used car pre-purchase inspection, you’ll know the car’s exact condition before you buy it. You can get a detailed report of the car’s condition and find out if there are any serious issues that the seller is not disclosing. This would also allow you to negotiate a better price with the seller or walk away from the deal if the car has excessive damage.
“It’s also vital to realize that automobiles have a lot of moving parts. Cars can and do break down – often after they are used, despite manufacturers’ best efforts. When purchasing an automobile privately, the principle of caveat emptor – buyer beware – applies.” Stu said.
He added, “this is why, in general, buying an automobile from a private person is less expensive than buying from a licensed motor dealer. Who is required by law to provide some consumer safeguards.”
Last, he said ‘The Subaru issue stinks, but it’s preferable to view it as a $2500 life lesson for other car buyers.’
Used Car Inspection Would Provide Transparency
A Used car pre purchase inspection is conducted by a neutral third party. Unless you are a mechanic yourself, there is no way you would be able to find out if there are any issues with the car. A reliable independent inspection company like German Precision would give you a detailed report of the car’s condition. They would also provide a list of repairs that are needed to make the car roadworthy again. This would allow you to make an informed decision before buying the car.
The inspector will be looking for issues that would affect the car’s performance and safety. These issues would include:
- Excessive wear and tear.
- Major defects and malfunctions in parts.
- Any safety issues.
- Major issues with the car’s structural integrity.
- Issues with the car’s electrical systems.
- Issues with the car’s fuel system.
- Issues with the car’s suspension and steering systems.
In some cases, a car seller would try to sell you a car that has issues. They would do this because they don’t want to be responsible for the repairs or they would rather sell a car with issues than nothing at all. If you have a pre-purchase inspection report that shows that the car needs repairs, you can haggle with the seller to get a better price or just walk away.
Before making a used car purchase, equip yourself with our in-depth used car pre purchase inspections report. Our exhaustive used car pre purchase inspection checklist ensures that your vehicle remains in optimal working order for many years to come, so you can be sure and confident about the car you want.