The Road Ahead : April May 2008
features APR/MAY 08 11 STORY SARAH T You can save money buying a car privately, but there are some pitfalls that you need to be aware of when shopping for a car in this manner. The disadvantages of buying a car privately in Queensland include the fact that there is no 'cooling off' period or statutory warranty. Once delivery occurs, legally it is your car. The seller is not legally obliged to take back the car or refund any part of the purchase price. When you buy privately, you also face a higher risk that the car will have problems, or is stolen, encumbered to a finance company or listed on the 'written off vehicles' register. Protect your interests by making the purchase "subject to you obtaining and being satisfied by an independent vehicle inspection report and comprehensive Vcheck report regarding the vehicle." Do not just rely on the safety certificate that the seller gives you. A safety certificate covers only the minimum safety features of the vehicle. An independent inspection report may detect other expensive problems. If a seller refuses to allow an independent inspection, walk away from the deal. Find out before taking delivery if the car has money owing on it, is stolen or listed on the 'written off vehicles' register, and get details of its history, by first obtaining a comprehensive Vcheck report. You will need the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of the car you are seeking information on. The various Vcheck reports currently range from $13.45 to $30.05, depending on the level of information you require. To obtain a Vcheck report over the internet (https://www. service.transport.qld.gov.au/vehicleinformationcheckQt/Welcome. jsp), you need to provide an Australian company number (ACN) or a Queensland Transport customer reference number, which is either a Queensland driver's licence number or the customer reference number on a Queensland registration renewal form. Alternatively, you can obtain a Vcheck report through one of these four providers: Australian Business Research (www.abr. com.au, 1300 366 402), Autocheck (www.autocheck.com.au, 3258 9500), Dealer Solutions (www.checkitout.com.au, 3633 3633), and Australia Data Brokers (www.austdata.com. au, 3262 5370). Interstate buyers can usually only obtain Vcheck reports through one of the Vcheck providers, not via the Queensland Transport website. There are some details a Vcheck report cannot provide you with, including information on vehicles manufactured prior to January 1, 1989 or the history of vehicles registered interstate. Pay the lowest deposit that the seller will allow. It is better to lose your deposit than obtain a car you do not want. A private sale is essentially a transaction between two consumers: an individual buyer and an individual seller. Any dispute can be resolved only in the Magistrates Court. No contractual relationship exists between the purchaser and mechanic who does a safety certificate. A purchaser should also get the vehicle insured before taking delivery. It is a false economy if you don't do this, as costs could be significant in the event of a crash if the vehicle is not covered by insurance. If the car being sold is registered, the seller must have the current safety certificate on display on the car at the time. The seller cannot contract out of this by saying, "sold as is". The purchaser must take the safety certificate, the certificate of registration and completed transfer of registration form to Queensland Transport within 14 days of the purchase to get the vehicle registered in his/her name and pay the stamp duty. It is also advisable for the seller to go with the purchaser to Queensland Transport to ensure the vehicle is transferred into the name of the new owner to avoid liability for someone else's car crashes or speeding/parking tickets from that day on. Sarah Tully is a corporate lawyer in RACQ's Legal Advisory Service. This article contains general information only. For specific advice on motoring issues, including contractual issues, private sales and independent vehicle inspections, RACQ members can contact the Club's Legal Advisory Service on 3361 2575. For more information about what a Vcheck provides, contact Queensland Transport on 13 23 80. TULLY PRIVATE dealings There are some things you should be aware of if you plan to buy a car privately. You need to do your homework when buying privately.
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