Should You Buy A Car During COVID-19?

There is widespread confusion about whether you’re allowed to buy a used car during COVID-19, but the motor vehicle is one of the safest forms of transport amid the pandemic.

Used car prices continue to soar as commuters shun public transport, fearing COVID-19 contagion.

According to data analytics firm Datium Insights, used motor vehicle prices rose by 4.4 per cent last week after increasing by 2.1 per cent in the previous week, and the stock remains considerably low.

In terms of category, prices of SUVs rose the most, up 5 per cent, while passenger vehicles gained 4.7 per cent.

Among the top traded vehicles, resale prices for Toyota Hiace and Volkswagen Golf were up 10.2 per cent and 8.2 per cent, respectively.

Many new-car dealerships have adjacent used-car yards, but private buyers and sellers are also allowed to trade vehicles as long as social distancing rules are applied by both parties during test drives and the transaction process.

However, customers still need to be careful when buying a used car.

There seems to be a lot of car selling frauds, which is possible through a number of activities and actions taken by the company.

One of these is when the business does not disclose certain information. Many vehicles that are previously damaged/written off/hail damaged and repaired, HAVE NOT BEEN ADVERTISED as such. This is indicating a deceptive type of seller who is trying to present a vehicle unethically.

If the vehicle was totalled/written-off either due to accident/flood/hail damage and the insurance company signed off on a salvage title being issued for the non-repairable or defective car, this must be disclosed very obviously to the customer seeking a new vehicle.

This means that the person is notified either inconspicuous writing or told by the employees selling the car. Any attempt to hide this information may lead to legal action. This also means that the dealership is not permitted to say they don’t know about the salvage title.

The history of vehicles and the titles granted are easily accessible to auto dealerships, and this means they are held accountable for detailing that a salvage title was issued for a car. There is a duty of care held to the company for disclosing the salvage title to the customer. Many businesses that sell vehicles may attempt to hide these matters through various means. However, if the car works and there are no issues, they may get away with these practices. It is when the driver is harmed due to defects or previously damaged cars that litigation could occur. Also, the fact that if you paid normal retail for the car, in reality, it is worth considerably less. How much? No one really knows how to put a value on a ‘written off’ car. You also need to consider that some car insurance companies will not offer comprehensive cover on a previous write-off, along with the fact that at time of future sale, you will need to disclose this fact, and a trade-in may be impossible.

Common Problems With A Private Seller

The most common problems with buying vehicles privately include:

• ‘buying a lemon’, ie a faulty car
• being misled about a vehicle’s make, price, quality or performance
• the seller still owing money to a finance company, in which case your vehicle may be repossessed.
• buying a car that has WOVR (Written Off Vehicle Registry) entry, due to being a repairable write off (accident/flood/hail damage)

What To Do If You Have A Problem

Contact the seller and explain the problem before you do anything else. Always talk to the seller first. If they disagree or refuse to deal with the issue, get a report from a mechanic or inspection service like German Precision.

You should contact the seller yourself – or have someone else do it for you – if you have bought a vehicle and:

• were misled into doing so, either by false advertising or something the seller has said
• the vehicle is faulty or unsafe
• you find out there is money owing on the vehicle.

Often by contacting the private seller, you can work out an arrangement between the two of you. This might include:

• some kind of refund
• the seller paying for mechanical work
• an alternative arrangement.

It’s important that you don’t give up without trying. Note however there is no guarantee or obligation from a private seller to do anything. Once you have paid and the car has changed hands, it is all up to you and the seller bears no further liability.

Then How Do You Avoid These Situations?

Do Your Research

It’s important to get as much information as you can about the condition of the car before you buy it. Ask the seller to show pictures of the car from different angles. You can also video call them so you can actually see the real condition before paying anything.

Get It Inspected By A Professional

If you’re unsure, hire a professional like German Precision to help you.

When buying something big like a new car, have it professionally inspected. A pre-purchase car inspection would cost you $250 to $350, and it’s worth every penny.

If you are looking for a professional pre-purchase car inspector in Melbourne, do not hesitate to contact German Precision or Prepurchase Check today!

sources: theaustralian.com.au, caradvice.com.au, hg.org, consumerprotection.govt.nz